We no longer have to hear about inside sources or their guesses. It has been officially announced by the Big Ten Conference that 2020 Big Ten Football season will kick off on the weekend of October 23-24.
There has been a lot of speculation on what would happen with the Big Ten ever since they announced the postponement of all fall sports on Aug. 11. We no longer have to guess or rely on reports from reporters or the Twitter user “Sir Yacht.”
In a statement released by the Big Ten, the main factor in getting back to the field was daily and rapid testing:
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. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game. 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. – Big Ten’s Official Statement
There are still many factors outside of daily testing that come into play with this shortened season. Here are some answers on how the Big Ten season will play in October:
WHAT HAPPENS IF A STUDENT TESTS POSITIVE?
While the CDC recommends a 14 day quarantine, the Big Ten says the earliest a student athlete can return to a game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
HOW MANY PLAYERS WILL HAVE TO TEST POSITIVE TO CANCEL GAMES OR PRACTICES?
Here are the numbers provided by the Big Ten:
Team positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered):
Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):
Decisions to alter or halt practice and competition will be based on the following scenarios:
Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention (alter practice and meeting schedule, consider viability of continuing with scheduled competition).
Red/Red: Team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE AND HOW MANY GAMES WILL BE PLAYED?
University of Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez said in the press conference Wednesday morning that there will be an “8+1” schedule.
There will be 8 conference games from October 23/24 – December 12th. The plus-1 comes during championship week. While the Big Ten championship will be played on Dec. 19 between the winners of the East and West divisions, that weekend all other teams will play their cross division opponent based on their standings.
So the second-place finisher in the East will play the team who finished second in the West, third-place East vs. third-place West, etc.
HAS A SCHEDULE BEEN ANNOUNCED?
No, a schedule will be released sometime this week.
ARE BIG TEN TEAMS ELIGIBLE FOR THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF?
Yes, with the Big Ten championship scheduled for Dec.19, that completes the season one day before the College Football Committee has its election show (Dec. 20)
Also in the statement, The Big Ten said an update will come on the rest of fall sports shortly and daily testing for teams will begin by Sept. 30.