Anticipation for BIG Ten football return rises

Anticipation for BIG Ten football return rises

On Friday, October 23, the Big Ten Conference plans to make its highly-anticipated return to playing football after complications and struggles due to COVID-19 that dated back to the summer. On August 11, college football fans around the country were shocked as the Big Ten conference became the first major football conference to officially announce the cancellation of the fall season. Crisis arose as football programs across the conference started practicing in June, resulting in multiple schools witnessing a spike in the outbreaks before official practices even began. Immediately following the decision to cancel the season, backlash followed from the players, their families, and some of the teams in the conference.

Commissioner Kevin Warren stated that “the decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance, and advice from medical experts,” but many people were not happy. Eight days later, the conference faced a lawsuit from eight Nebraska football players. The players claimed the conference did not conduct a vote on a momentous decision, such as canceling the season. Following the decision to start the season again, the lawsuit was dropped.

The big announcement came on September 16, when the conference announced the revival of the 2020-2021 season. This decision was not made without the conference adopting significant medical protocols such as daily antigen testing and enhanced cardiac screening. The new testing protocols are in hope of making practice and competition decisions easier with more statistics available to use.

Other conferences such as the ACC, BIG 12, and SEC have been playing for almost two months and have seen double digit increases in cases at the start of their respective seasons. The Big Ten’s caution is to keep the cases as low as they possibly can by limiting fans and monitoring cases. Overall, as everyone can’t wait for Big Ten football to resume, statistics show it will not come without struggle and inevitable challenges in the road ahead.