Citing new medical protocols, the Big Ten Conference has voted unanimously to resume the college football season starting with the weekend of October 23-24.
Just over a month ago, the conference voted to cancel the fall football season, postponing competition to the spring of 2021. That was based on the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a number of top college conferences to postpone fall sports.
That vote, taken by the presidents and chancellors of the 14 Big Ten programs, was an 11-3 vote in favor of postponement. But today’s announcement from the conference says the 14 presidents voted unanimously to resume the football season on the weekend of October 23-24.
“The Big Ten will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing,” the press release says. “Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game.”
The conference has produced color-coded thresholds that will govern if and when practices or games will be halted due to positive case spikes:
Team Positivity Rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests)
- Green: 0-2%
- Orange: 2-5%
- Red: >5%
Population Positivity Rate (positive individuals divided by total population)
- Green: 0-3.5%
- Orange: 3.5-7.5%
- Red: >7.5%
Those rates will be based on a seven-day rolling average, with the following protocols based on the color grades:
- Green/Green or Green/Orange: practice & competition continues as scheduled
- Orange/Orange or Orange/Red: Team should alter practice & meeting schedule and consider rescheduling competition
- Red/Red: 7-day pause on practice & competition to reassess
The decision only applies to football. But the Big Ten release does say that there will be updates on other fall sports and on fall competition for winter sports (including swimming & diving) “shortly.”
Update: a source tells SwimSwam that the University of Iowa emailed staff to confirm that even though football is returning, the program cuts (including swimming & diving) set for the end of this school year will not be reversed.