Big Ten Announces Football Season Will Start Oct. 23; No Fans Allowed At Games

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletic Director Bill Moos (left) and Chancellor Ronnie Green (Credit: Husker Athletics)
September 16, 2020 - 10:25am

After much speculation, the Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday morning a football season will start the weekend of October 23-34.

The Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to reverse an earlier decision cancelling the season, according to a statement

The Big Ten says no fans, other than the families of players, will be allowed at games.

The plan to play this fall includes a requirement for daily COVID-19 antigen testing for student-athletes, coaches, trainers and others involved in practices and games. 

"We are in a considerably better place than we were a month ago in terms of having those tests available and understanding how to completely mitigate that risk for our teams and for our student athletes," said University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green. "We're celebrating the fact that we're here today and we're able to move forward with a successful season." 

The original Big Ten decision to cancel the fall football season sparked significant backlash. Head Coach Scott Frost initially said they would try to find a way for Nebraska to play anyway, and a group of players sued the conference to learn more about the first vote and challenge the decision. 

"When we did not get the vote that we were hoping we could get, we just went back to work and tried to address, and I think we did successfully, what we needed to accomplish in order to go back and have the chancellors and presidents take another look at this," said Athletic Director Bill Moos. "We were outspoken, both Scott and me."

Big Ten Testing Requirements

Based on a seven-day rolling average

The Big Ten plan calls for each institution to appoint a Chief Infection Officer to oversee data collection and report back to the conference. 

Daily testing will begin September 30. Each team can continue practice and competition only if the testing positivity rate among players remains below 5%. The positivity rate among the whole "at-risk" population, which includes coaches and other support staff, must remain below 7.5%. 

UNL has reported at least 637 positive cases since Aug. 12, with 24 new cases on Monday. With 3,903 total tests, the overall campus positivity rate is 16.32%. The positivity rate for campus for the past seven days is 14.85%.

The plan also includes cardiac testing for all student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19. 

"We're in a different location here in this footprint, and it is safe in Lincoln, Nebraska," Moos said. "The safest place for our young student athletes is Lincoln, and the safest place in Lincoln is in our facilities."

There is no word yet on who the Huskers will open the season against on October 24, but the Big Ten is expected to release a schedule later this week.

This post has been updated. 



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