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Big Ten Football is Back!

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The presidents have voted to start the season the weekend of October 23-24

Big Ten Football Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It is official. We can haz Big Ten football again.

The October start date will allow the Big Ten schools to be in contention for the college football playoff.

As we move toward the fall we will continue to keep an eye on Covid infections and it will undoubtedly affect the season in some form or fashion. It won’t be a perfect season for everybody but at least they are willing to try.

This new schedule looks like it will have eight regular season games before the reported conference championship weekend of December 19. That leaves very little wiggle room for cancellations or postponements - which seem like an inevitability with the COVID numbers the way they are on college campuses.

But, some football is better than no football, right?

If you want my glass-half-empty view of things is that by pushing back the start date, the University Presidents and Chancellors are hoping that things either get worse or we can see that the rest of the leagues are struggling to play football so they can end up cancelling anyways.

Why wait all of this time when an October 17 start date, which would have given them more wiggle room, appeared to be the best bet? Instead we are starting on the weekend of the 24th, and playing eight straight games before the Big Ten Championship game.

If you want my glass-half-full view of things is that they did what they HAD to do in order to get enough votes to move forward. There were likely a lot of back and forth and in order to swing a vote here or there it might have required the later start date in order for the teams that weren’t using their 12 hours a week a chance to make up some extra ground?

The guidelines are as follows:

The Big Ten Conference will use data provided 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:

Team positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered):

Green 0-2%

Orange 2-5%

Red >5%

Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):

Green 0-3.5%

Orange 3.5-7.5%

Red >7.5%

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.

The daily testing will begin by September 30, 2020.

These guidelines or protocols remind me of a quote that was tweeted out last week that while there will be a vote to have a fall football season that the guideline and protocols will be such that it will make it impossible to have a full season.

At least we are trying to have football!