The Big Ten announced Wednesday that the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to restart the football season on the weekend of Oct. 23-24.
"Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”
The Big Ten originally postponed fall sports Aug. 11 after releasing a conference-only football schedule Aug. 8. The conference's presidents and chancellors originally voted 11-3 to postpone the season, with only Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa voting to play.
A key component to the conference's restart plan is daily rapid testing that will begin Sept. 30. to help ensure the safety of both the student-athletes and coaching staff.
The Big Ten said in a statement that it will use "data proved by each Chief Infection Officer (CInO) to make decisions about the continuation of practice and competition, as determined by team positivity rate and population positivity rate, based on a seven-day rolling average."
The decision comes after weeks of speculation regarding a potential restart of football operations.
“We are beyond excited to get back on the football field,” IU head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “Our players have kept their focus and attacked workouts waiting for this day. Thank you to President McRobbie, Scott Dolson and our medical staff for their relentless efforts to make it safe for all of us to return. I also want to thank Aaron Wellman and his staff for keeping our team sharp and our coaching staff for all of their tireless work. We look forward to the 2020 Big Ten football season."
In response to the loss of revenue without fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IU Athletics previously announced a 10% budget cut that is expected to save the department nearly $11.8 million and a minimum of one two-week unpaid furlough for each employee between Oct. 1 and June 30, 2021.
The Big Ten also said in its statement that updates regarding other fall sports besides football and winter sports that begin in the fall will be announced shortly.
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