Big Ten football is back


Justin Casterline / Getty Images - TNS

Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for a touchdown in the Big Ten Championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 7, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind.

Mackenzie Moore, News Editor

This summer, before college began around the United States, Big Ten officials voted 11-3 (the three votes in opposition being from Ohio State, Nebraska, and Iowa) to cancel the fall football season due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, after facing pressure from players, their parents, and football fans, the Big Ten has reversed course. 

Following a weekend of meetings between the athletic conference’s chancellors and presidents, the decision to resume the fall football season was announced on Sept. 16.

The revamped eight game schedule slates the season to begin the weekend of Oct. 23.

Following the vote, Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez released a statement, which stated in part:

“I supported the conference’s decision a month ago to postpone our fall sports seasons. There was enough question in the minds of the conference’s presidents, chancellors, and medical personnel to make the decision to not go forward.

Over the past several weeks, we have learned a lot and significantly improved testing and tracing capabilities. What I have seen and heard gives me confidence going forward. The health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff remains our top priority, so we will continue to emphasize proper protocols and smart decision-making.”

Perhaps one of the biggest changes for this year’s football season is that teams will be playing to empty stadiums.

“We are looking to see what we can do on a campus-by-campus basis to accommodate the families of our student athletes, both home and away, as well as the families of staff. But as a conference, we’ve made a decision – no public sales of tickets,” Big Ten Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said.

Additionally, medical precautions will be taken for players and staff. As part of the Big Ten’s plan, each school must employ a Chief Infection Officer.

Also, while the University of Wisconsin – Madison has been performing coronavirus tests for players and staff  through Madison based company Exact Sciences Corporation since June, which has returned 42 positive cases, daily testing for each school in the conference will begin on Sept. 30.

The Wisconsin Badgers will begin their football season on Oct. 24 at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini.