Big Ten to Start Football Season in October, Play 8 Games
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Big Ten football is back.
The presidents of the schools in the conference unanimously voted to start the football season on the weekend of Oct. 23-24 and play eight games in eight weeks. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 on Aug. 11 postponed the fall sports seasons, including football, because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision by the Big Ten, announced Wednesday, comes after the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference began their football seasons Saturday. More conferences are scheduled to start their seasons this weekend. The Southeastern Conference is scheduled to kick off on Sept. 26.
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Details of the schedule, other than a start date, were not released by the Big Ten. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the news.
The addition of Big Ten Conference games gives sports bettors more opportunities for college football betting.
If the Big Ten resumes playing by late October, teams could still plan an eight-game schedule and have a conference championship game in mid-December. That would set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols and has voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020: https://t.co/b5yHShGb1D— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 16, 2020
Plan for Returning to Play
School presidents were shown a comprehensive plan on Sunday on how the Big Ten could conduct a fall football season, according to the Associated Press. The full Council of Presidents and Chancellors heard from all the subcommittees of the conference’s Return to Competition Task Force on Sunday, the AP reported. The meeting lasted more than two hours.
During the medical part of the presentation Sunday, the presidents were shown how football could be played safely and what has changed since the entire fall sports season was postponed, according to AP. The emergence of daily rapid-response testing was a key factor in the decision Tuesday.
The Big Ten will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily testing, according to the conference news release. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game.
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The Big Ten has been receiving criticism from parents and players about not playing. Parents of players have demonstrated at schools and at the Big Ten offices outside of Chicago. Players at Nebraska have filed a lawsuit to get the conference’s decision not to play overturned.
Some of the conference’s best players have said they were opting out of this season and will instead redshirt or focus on preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. They include Shaun Wade (Ohio State cornerback), Wyatt Davis (Ohio State offensive guard), Micah Parsons (Penn State linebacker), Rashod Bateman (Minnesota wide receiver), Josh Jackson (Maryland quarterback), Ambry Thomas (Michigan cornerback) and Rondale Moore (Purdue wide receiver).
All Big Ten sports will require testing protocols before they can resume play, the conference said. Updates regarding fall sports other than football, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and wrestling, “will be announced shortly.”