Big Ten To Resume 2020 Football Season in October

The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Wednesday to resume the 2020 football season, beginning with the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

The Big Ten COP/C has adopted medical protocols that include daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and a date-driven approach when making decisions regarding practice and competition.

“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in a statement. “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.”

“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.

“The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities.”

Each Big Ten Conference member school will designate a Chief Infection Officer who will oversee the collection of reporting and date for the Big Ten Conference.

The Mid-American Conference announced Wednesday that there are still no plans for any fall sports in 2020.

In a release, the Big Ten Conference says:

All COVID-19 positive student-athletes will have to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing to include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram and a Cardiac MRI. Following cardiac evaluation, student-athletes must receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university for the primary purpose of cardiac clearance for COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.

In addition to the medical protocols approved, the 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry in an effort to examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The registry and associated data will attempt to answer many of the unknowns regarding the cardiac manifestations in COVID-19 positive elite athletes.

Daily testing will begin by Sept. 30.