After initially deciding to postpone football season until the spring of 2021, the Big Ten Conference has reversed course. A vote regarding a fall Big Ten football season reportedly passed with ease among conference officials yesterday and an official announcement came this morning.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 reportedly believed that other conferences would follow suit when they initially voted to postpone football season to the spring of 2021. That was not the case, as the remaining Power Five conferences — ACC, Big 12, and SEC — all took the field this past weekend.
Several Illinois football players voiced their displeasure about having to watch from home while other conferences got to play on Saturday.
These are just a few examples of some of the backlash the Big Ten received for its initial decision to postpone the season.
Nevertheless, Big Ten football is officially back. A conference-only schedule will commence on the weekend of October 23-24 with rapid COVID-19 testing as part of the health and safety protocols. This will be a vital element of the conference’s return to play plan, as college football has already seen a few outbreaks.
An ACC matchup between Virginia and Virginia Tech that was scheduled to take place this upcoming weekend has already been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. In the SEC, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron recently stated that ‘most’ of his players have contracted the virus at some point.
First and foremost, the Big Ten will need to be rigorous about testing and following proper protocols to ensure the health and safety of their players, coaches, and staff. Secondly, the league cannot afford many postponements with such a late start date for the season.
Call it unconventional, unprecedented, and unexpected if you will — but what hasn’t been in 2020? After traveling down a long and winding road, the Big Ten Conference will play football in 2020.