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Big Ten To Resume Football Season In Late October

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Big Ten Conference has reversed course on its decision to postpone fall football. Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors “adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition.”

The significant medical protocols are bringing Big Ten Football back beginning the weekend of October 23-24, 2020.

“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,” wrote the Big Ten in a press release. “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.”

Big Ten guidelines for return to play

With the late start date, Big Ten programs will not have a built-in bye week, and if a player tests positive for COVID-19, they will have a 21-day suspension.

If a team has a five percent positivity test rate, the Big Ten teams will shut down. So there’s still a lot of work to navigate the pandemic, but it’s better than no football at all.

Big Ten decided to postpone football back on August 11th. Since that decision, its led to numerous groups of people within the league being upset with the postponement. From coaches and players to parents of the student-athletes, everyone in Big Ten country seemed unhappy.

The upset feeling turned to frustration when the college football season began. Two of the Power 5 conferences have already started their seasons. Seeing other conferences begin in the fall amid COVID-19 left Ohio State head coach Ryan Day to ask a simple question, “why can’t they play?”

Big Ten Football is back

Now the answer is clear; Big Ten football is going to play. The only Power 5 league not scheduled to play football this fall is the Pac-12 Conference. Members of the USC football team have sent a letter to California governor Gavin Newsome asking to ease restrictions so Trojan players can begin practicing in hopes of a season.

With the Big Ten joining the season, so late, it begs the question, will they be part of the College Football Playoff? According to a report from ESPN’s Heather Dinich, the Big Ten is expected to be part of the CFP in 2020. The College Football Playoff delayed its selection date from December 6th to December 20th. It is giving the Big Ten two months to pull off a season. A season that looked lost just a month ago.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.