Big Ten votes to play football in 2020, reversing decision

There will be a 2020 Big Ten football season after all.

The Big Ten announced Wednesday morning the return of its fall football season, reversing a previous decision to cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The league’s plan will include daily rapid testing and would begin play the weekend of Oct. 23-24, leaving teams eligible to compete for a national title.

The news comes after a flurry of reports early in the week that the conference would announce such plans following a Sunday meeting of the conference’s school presidents.

And then on Tuesday, University of Nebraska president Ted Carter was caught on a hot mic saying the school was “getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight.”

Also on Tuesday, University of Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank said “we will try to plan a delayed season” after prior concerns have been put to rest.

The Big Ten canceled football last month over potential hazards related to COVID-19, including testing and tracing, as well as possible longer-term heart issues.

“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,” Dr. Jim Borchers, Ohio State’s head team physician and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee, said in a statement.

“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.”

According to Yahoo, the Pac-12, which also canceled football this season, has no plans to return to play, in part due to conditions in California and Oregon that are preventing teams from practicing. The MAC and Mountain West also will not play this year.

President Trump spoke to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren earlier this month about playing football this fall.

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