The coronavirus pandemic be damned. The Big 12 has pulled the old double-reverse on the Covid-19 pandemic and will have a football season starting the weekend of Oct. 23-24, it was announced Wednesday.
Reports are indicating an eight-game season with a title contest Dec. 19, which would allow the Big Ten to participate in the College Football Playoff.
Commissioner Kevin Warren had this to say:
Kevin Warren: “This is a special day for the Big Ten conference… The only focus and goal that we’ve had over the last 40 days was to safely allow our student athletes to return to competition so they can fulfill their dreams."
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 16, 2020
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald offered a cool image and thought via Twitter.
— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) September 16, 2020
When was the Season Postponed?
The conference had postponed the season Aug. 11 with the coronavirus running rampant and no vaccine in sight.
However, the pressure from players and parents never ceased and Wednesday a decision was made to start the season next month with stringent testing plans in place.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols and has voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020: https://t.co/b5yHShGb1D
— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 16, 2020
What are the Protocols?
Per the release: The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition. The COP/C voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020. The decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group that was established by the COP/C and Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a collaborative and transparent process.
The Big Ten will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.
“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.
“The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities.”
How Will Schools Be Monitored?
The Big Ten Conference will use data provided by each Chief Infection Officer (CInO) to make decisions about the continuation of practice and competition, as determined by team positivity rate and population positivity rate, based on a seven-day rolling average:
- Team positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered):
- Green 0-2%
- Orange 2-5%
- Red >5%
- Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):
- Green 0-3.5%
- Orange 3.5-7.5%
- Red >7.5%
Decisions to alter or halt practice and competition will be based on the following scenarios:
- Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
- Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention (alter practice and meeting schedule, consider viability of continuing with scheduled competition).
- Red/Red: Team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved.
The daily testing will begin by September 30, 2020.
With Big Ten back, 91 of the 130 FBS schools (70 percent) will now be playing this fall
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 16, 2020
Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020