Big Ten Announces Return-to-play on October 24

Author: Mansi


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The Big Ten made an announcement for return-to-play with a fresh schedule & daily unique protocols including daily rapid testing. With this unique return, to be a part of the season, the players will also have to get a cardiac clearance. The announcement for the return came in only after the Chancellors, and the Council of Presidents voted to allow the fall Football 2020. Beginning in the weekend of October, over eight weeks there would be eight regular-season games. This will also include and also, one Big Ten Championship Game.

Daily Rapid COVID-19 Testing.

The Big Ten Championship Game, per the new schedule, is slated to be played on December 19, followed by the College Football Playoff to decide the final CFP Rankings on December 20. Fans would not be allowed during the game and there would not be any selling of tickets. However, taking it as an exceptional case, the family members of coaches, staff & players would be allowed to attend games.

Daily rapid COVID-19 testing would be the key feature of the conference for the return-to-play plan for the season. The testing for the coaches and players will start on September 30 so that each of them could return-to-play at least after 21 days of the positive test result. In addition to that, the conference has also revised & revealed its myocarditis screening plans. The previous schedule of August 11 for the game was canceled by Big Ten in wake of the due to positive test results & myocarditis screening plan.

Big Ten's return-to-play Fresh Reporting Rules.

Per the new rules for return-to-play, there will be a Chief Infection Officer (CInO) from each institution to look after the Big Ten conference and how it functions. The population positivity rate & the teams’ positivity rate will decide how to proceed with practice and the competition as a whole. All those athletes, who at any point in time, through the game are tested positive will have to go a couple of other tests including a Cardiac MRI, Echocardiogram, ECG & others. The cardiologist designated by the conference will provide a clearance after the cardiac evaluation. Only after receiving this cardiac clearance for positive COVID-19, the athletes will be allowed to participate through the game.

Per a seven-day rolling average & the CInO data, the conference will decide whether the team is ready for practice & competition or not. There would be the deployment of enhanced prevention methods after the positivity rate reaches two to five percent. The team will stop its practice sessions for at least seven days, in case the positivity rate among the coaches goes above 7.5 percent & that for players the positivity rate goes above five percent.

Big Ten Return to Play Task Force.

The Big ten had created a Task Force to dive deeper & find a plausible solution to whether the team is ready to play the 2021 spring season or would find a way to play this fall. Along with the medical subcommittee, the eight chancellors & presidents of the conference shared their view & medical information. The committee members also shared information regarding the rapid antigen testing, which allows daily coronavirus testing on athletes & coaches.

In addition to that, they also shared the information on myocarditis, a condition where the person feels inflammation in their heart muscles. Initially, the Big Ten conference had decided to call off football until 2021 spring keeping in mind coronavirus testing & tracing for players, coaches & staff — who have had any heart-related ailments. The decision of revolting was taken place after there was a huge backlash after the Big ten canceled the season, which resulted in only Iowa, Ohio State & Nebraska ready to play.

Since then the Big ten have been facing retaliation from parents, coaches, players & even from President Donald Trump. Previously the team had written an open letter clarifying that the Big Ten is not going to revisit its decision. But, the decision had to be changed — and of the 14 presidents, 9 had to agree to the return-to-play. There are obviously more staunch rules, COVID-19 safety protocols & rapid testing protocols. Let’s see when the Big Ten starts the season on October 24, how everything goes. The good news is Big Ten is finally playing football this season.


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