In a unanimous vote by the Big Ten of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C), football will begin in the conference starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020.
“From the onset of the pandemic, our highest priority has been the health and the safety of our students. The new medical protocols and standards put into place by the Big Ten Return To Competition Task Force were pivotal in the decision to move forward with sports in the conference,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President, and Chair of the Return to Competition Task Force Steering Committee. “We appreciate the conference’s dedication to developing the necessary safety procedures for our students and the communities that embrace them.”
All universities will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing with test results to be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game.
A designated Chief Infection Officer will also be appointed to oversee the collection and reporting of all data. The CIO will monitor all team test positivity and any student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.
All 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry to examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The data will be an effort by the conference to monitor all the unknown factors of future cardiac effects caused by the coronavirus in student-athletes who test positive.
“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.