Big Ten Votes to Resume College Football Season in October
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Nicholas Petit-Frere (78).
As reported Wednesday morning by Yahoo Sports and Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the Big Ten’s representative council of university presidents and chancellors have voted to resume the 2020 college football season this fall.
Per Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, players from the Big Ten’s member universities will be permitted to begin practicing immediately. The league has not yet released specific information regarding its proposed contact-tracing or player safety protocols. However, the Big Ten reportedly will institute “daily, rapid [COVID-19] testing,” per Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.
The league is planning for an eight-week, eight-game intraconference schedule beginning on Friday, Oct. 23. The Big Ten Conference Title game is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 19.
The Big Ten’s decision to return to play leaves one conference as the lone holdout among the Power 5: The Pac-12, which canceled all sports through the end of 2020, ostensibly eliminating college basketball in addition to football this fall.
Time will tell if the Pac-12 takes the Big Ten’s lead to return to FBS play this season, but it’s worth noting that COVID-19 is not the league’s sole concern at the moment. The players of the Pac-12 issued a formal letter to conference representatives on Aug. 2 via The Players’ Tribune listing myriad grievances, foremost of which was COVID-19 safety protocols.
However, the #WeAreUnited letter also included demands to alter individual member schools’ athletic expenditures, desired measures to combat racial injustice, extended medical insurance coverage, likeness rights restoration and the institution of a profit-sharing model among the league’s athletes.
So, the Pac-12 may still be a pipe dream as of Sept. 16. But in the meantime, Wednesday’s Big Ten news is cause for rejoicing for college football fans around the country.
Love ’em, or love to hate ’em, the Big Ten is back.