Big Ten Conference to Play Fall Football
The Big Ten Conference has reconsidered the previous cancellation of fall football, and the league will resume play on Oct. 24.
The Big Ten Conference was the first Power 5 Conference to announce their cancellation, but the presidents and chancellors in the league have changed their minds.
Earlier this week, the league announced that the presidents and chancellors from each university held a vote, and the decision was unanimous to allow the season to begin on Oct. 24. Daily testing will be required for every student-athlete and member of the coaching staff.
The league will allow each team to play eight games over an eight-week span, which leaves no room for any cancellations or postponements. Other leagues have built in some flexibility in case a surge in positive COVID-19 cases pops up at an institution.
The Big Ten Championship Game will be held on Dec. 19, and each school in the league will also be allowed to play an extra game that date as well. The league will seed each team, and there will be crossover matchups between the divisions.
It is important that the league completes the championship game on Dec. 19, as the College Football Playoff selection show is set for Dec. 20. It’s unclear how the selection committee will view teams from the Big Ten Conference as other leagues will be playing more games.
As part of this announcement, all of the schools in the conference are committed to playing games without fans this season. The Big Ten is working out details to allow families to attend home and away games, but a plan has not been announced at this time.
The decision to postpone fall sports was made on Aug. 11, and the league believed that it was making the best decision at that time. A return to competition task force was formed by commissioner Kevin Warren at that time, and that group revealed new information that made the return possible.
The new rapid testing program will begin on Sept. 30, and these tests must be completed before each practice or game. Football players that test positive will have to wait at least 21 days before they are able to resume competition.
Still No Pac-12
The Pac-12 Conference followed the cancellation announcement from the Big Ten Conference on Aug. 11, but that league took it one step further. The Pac-12 canceled all sporting events through Jan. 1, which included college football.
Now that the Big Ten Conference is planning to play football this fall, the Pac-12 Conference is reportedly meeting to discuss the issue as well. According to sources, the Pac-12 is looking at a possible start date of Oct. 31, but this would likely keep the teams out of College Football Playoff discussion.
Half of the teams in the Pac-12 are located in the states of California and Oregon, which creates a massive hurdle for the league. Both states have extreme health and safety restrictions in place, and that does not allow those schools to play college football.
Presidents and chancellors in the Pac-12 were set to meet this weekend to discuss the resumption of sports, but it’s unclear if an official vote will be taken.
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