Big Ten Football to Return in Late October With Daily COVID-19 Testing

Jordan Cohn
September 16, 2020 - 8:18 am
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A little over a month after the Big Ten officially decided to call off fall sports in 2020, the conference has reversed its course -- at least on its college football season -- and is set to return.

NCAA insider Pete Thamel had the initial scoop, reporting that the return is set for late October.

The Big Ten later confirmed the report with an official announcement, stating that the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors unanimously voted to resume the football season on the weekend of October 23-24.

COVID-19 testing will be a major part of the restart, as all student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other associated individuals will take part in daily antigen tests. Any athletes who test positive on the rapid tests will then take a PCR test to confirm the outcome.

Under the new protocols, any team with a COVID-19 positivity rate (based on tests administered) between 0 and 2% is considered "green," while 2-5% is considered "orange," and greater than 5% is considered "red." The conference came up with different percentages for the "population positivity rate," which is defined by how many positive individuals there are divided by the total population. Those percentages are as follows:

- Green: 0-3.5%
- Orange: 3.5-7.5%
- Red: >7.5%

Any team that is both red in team positivity rate and population positivity rate "must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved."

Daily testing will begin on September 30.

According to the statement, all Big Ten sports will eventually require testing protocols before resumption, but no updates have been provided on other sports besides football.

Both the college football and NFL seasons kicked off last weekend after unprecedented offseasons amid the global pandemic.

Several major conferences -- including the Big Ten and Pac-12, two of college football's so-called Power 5 divisions -- called off their seasons last month amid uncertainty over the virus.

These decisions came under criticism from some players, coaches and fans, and even caught the attention of the White House. President Trump rallied against the move, saying he spoke to LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence and told them to "go play football."

There were also several prominent figures within the Big Ten who made a push to bring their season back.

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