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Big Ten announces plan to start football in late October

After much speculation, the league made it official on Wednesday morning.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Michigan at Indiana

It’s official. There will be Big Ten football in the fall.

The vibe surrounding the conference has been nothing but negative since the decision to postpone the fall season was announced on Aug. 11. That has all been turned around after the presidents and chancellors have voted to begin the season. And they did it unanimously with many protocols in place for the start of the season. You can read a full review of those medical protocols here.

“The COP/C voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020,” the Big Ten said in a statement on Wednesday. “The decision was based on information presented to 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 decision comes after a new vote was taken after the breakthrough of some new information. On Saturday, the Big Ten’s medical subcommittee made a formal presentation to the conference’s presidential steering committee. This is made up of presidents and chancellors from eight schools.

So, what changed? The Big Ten has reiterated that reliable and rapid testing is crucial in the process of returning to play. The league has addressed daily rapid testing and will also have new information on myocarditis screening. This will allow for tests for myocarditis if a player tests positive. The lack thereof was a big reason why the presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to postpone the fall season. This vote was revealed after the Big Ten’s lack of transparency left teams searching for answers.

A start date of Oct. 23-24 has been determined. This would allow the Big Ten teams to play an eight-game schedule over nine weeks, although there is some speculation of how the schedule will be set. This has not yet been announced.

The ACC and Big 12 began their schedules this weekend while the SEC is prepared to begin Sept. 26. This left many wondering, including Ryan Day, “why can’t they play?” These were the final words of a statement released by the Ohio State head coach via Twitter on Thursday. Of course, Day was not the only critic of the decision by the Big Ten.

This reversal will end a month full of criticism and negative feelings toward the Big Ten conference and commissioner Kevin Warren. There were lawsuits, petitions, and angry letters. Now, there will be football.

“Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” Warren said. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”