Big Ten conference votes to start season in late October
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten announced Wednesday that its football season will begin the weekend of Oct. 23-24.
This is a reversal of the conference's Aug. 11 decision to postpone football until the spring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference released a statement from its chancellors and presidents Wednesday morning, outlining plans for safe practices and games. Players, coaches, trainers and other individuals on the field will be required to undergo daily antigen testing for COVID-19, according to the statement.
The conference will also implement "enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach."
Student-athletes who test positive for the virus will not be allowed to return to games for at least 21 days.
The statement detailed team and population positivity rates, separated into three sections: green (team: 0-2 percent; population: 0-3.5 percent), orange (team: 2-5 percent; population: 3.5-7.5 percent) and red (team: over 5 percent; population: over 7.5 percent).
In the red zone, teams will stop practices and games for at least a week.
The conference says that daily testing will begin by Sept. 30. Each institution will designate a Chief Infection Officer who will oversee the collection and reporting of COVID-19 data.
Updates for other Big Ten fall sports, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall — including men's and women's basketball, men's ice hockey, wrestling and men's and women's swimming and diving — will be announced soon, according to the statement.