With the news that the Big Ten will begin the 2020 football season on October 23 and 24, as well as have specific medical protocols in place, Rutgers University issued a statement on the decision. It also included how Rutgers plans to proceed through the season with these protocols in place. The full statement below:
The presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten were presented with a proposal by the Medical Subcommittee of its Return to Competition Task Force that was sufficiently compelling that conference members now support a plan to begin playing football on October 24.
The approved plan relies on daily rapid antigen testing of all athletes and other persons associated with each football program, on adherence to strict internal health protocols and on continual assessments of the health conditions for each team and the health conditions of its broader university community.
This is an approach that recognizes changing local health conditions, improvements in access to near-instantaneous antigen testing and an evolving understanding of effective health protocols.
Assessments of the conditions at Rutgers, as well as those for each opponent, will be made regarding all upcoming games. Individual universities may suspend the return to competition on a week-to-week basis if they or their scheduled opponents are experiencing significant negative changes among players and staff or within the broader university community.
The Rutgers University Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will abide by those protocols and conditions and will rely on the input of the university’s medical professionals to assure the health and safety of everyone involved in a return to intercollegiate competition this semester.
It is a bit unorthodox that Rutgers issued a statement in general and neither President Jonathan Holloway, athletic director Pat Hobbs or football head coach Greg Schiano were listed or signed it. Even so, football is back and it’s an encouraging sign that the Big Ten and its members have a very clear set of guidelines to follow in order to maintain the safety of competition directly related to Covid-19.