Big Ten football is coming back this year. On Wednesday, the Big Ten Conference announced football will return in October. Big Ten presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to start the football season on the weekend of Oct. 23-24. This news comes nearly one month after the Big Ten announced it would postpone football for the fall and start playing in the spring of next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Big Ten student-athlete, coach, trainer and other individual on the field for all practices and games will be required to undergo daily testing.
“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities," Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee, said in a press release.
As for the schedule, CBS Sports reported that all teams will play eight games in eight weeks. This means the conference can compete for a national championship in January. Before the start of the season, six Big Ten teams appeared in the AP preseason poll, including Ohio State who came in at No. 2. On Tuesday, University of Nebraska president Ted Carter was caught on a hot mic saying that a vote by the Big Ten was coming later in the evening.
"We're getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight," Carter said to Director of the National Strategic Research Institute Bob Hinson on Tuesday morning before the start of a news conference. When asked about the comments, Carter said he was trying to say there was a lot of work going on to get Big Ten football going and hopes they'll have a decision soon.
In August, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 Conference postponed football and all fall sports until the spring. The other Power 5 conferences — ACC, Big 12 and SEC — have moved forward with fall football. ACC and Big 12 began their seasons this past weekend while the SEC will start on the weekend of Sept. 26. According to ESPN, the Pac-12 could start playing football in mid-to-late November at the earliest. Schools in the states of California and Oregon have not been cleared to resume contact practices.