Big Ten football to return in October

The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday that its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to resume football starting on Oct. 23. 

The conference said it “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.”

“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, Ohio State University’s team physician and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee, in a Wednesday statement.

“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,” Borchers added.

The decision was hailed by President Trump, who has pressed for colleges to allow football to go forward.

The Big Ten voted in August to postpone all fall sports seasons over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic in an 11-3 vote, with only Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa voting to go ahead with the 2020 season.

Trump, who has publicly advocated for the Big Ten returning and spoke with conference leadership in August, celebrated the move on Wednesday morning.

“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!!!” Trump wrote on to his more than 86 million followers.

It is unclear what role, if any, Trump played in the resumption of the season. 

He has repeatedly called for the Big Ten to resume games over the past few weeks, and has blamed the governors of Michigan and Maryland for standing in their way.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also lauded the decision and the Big Ten’s plan to hold “prudent practices and rigorous testing regimes.”

“The Big Ten’s presidents, chancellors, and the ‘return to competition task force’ deserve credit for reevaluating and concluding that we can responsibly bring back football. We need to keep working to beat this nasty virus, but today’s decision is a good signpost that, with prudent practices and rigorous testing regimes, we can keep moving back toward normal,” he said.

Updated at 10:16 a.m.

Tags Ben Sasse Big 10 Big Ten College football Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Pandemic

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