Despite announcing the 2020 conference only schedule on Thursday, the Big Ten issued a statement on Saturday that adds more doubt as to whether football will actually take place this fall. Essentially, no contact practices without pads will be in place “until further notice.”
Here is the first part of the statement that explains the decision:
“The Big Ten Conference announced today, based on the advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, that, until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football (i.e., helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear) as we continue to transition prudently through preseason practice. All other fall sports will continue to work locally with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity, as necessary, based on current medical protocols.”
A high volume of injuries were already a major concern before this decision, as teams were expected to begin the season in less than a month without having any formal practices in 2020 so far. Now with practices restricted to helmets and shorts, it seems impossible for the Big Ten to begin the season the first weekend of September. It also seems unlikely the medical advice will change anytime soon.
As for Rutgers, the quarantine issued for the program after a COVID-19 outbreak occurred ended today. There has not yet been a formal announcement as to when practice will begin for the Scarlet Knights, but the expectation is at some point this week.
As more details emerge, we will update this post. For the full statement issued by the Big Ten, click here.