Big Ten Football is Back

Hannah Velette, Copy Editor

If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us so far, it’s that you really can never fully predict the future. This year has been full of changes and losses, and as we’re heading into fall one of the most prominent losses has been the lack of college football. Like I said before, though, nothing stays the same for very long, and in a surprising turn of events, the Big Ten football conference has chosen to reverse its previous decision and continue on with its season.

When the Big Ten league first announced its decision on August 11 to opt out of fall sports, the backlash was immense from players, coaches, and fans. Nonetheless, medical experts advised that playing college football was too risky at the moment, so they accordingly planned to push the season off until at least 2021. However, this decision was then reversed on September 16 as all 14 of the league’s universities unanimously agreed upon allowing football to return October 23 without fans. This decision sparked controversy as to whether it was influenced by political or financial aspects, but Big Ten leaders maintained that this was in accordance with what medical professionals are now recommending. 

While some may wonder what caused the professionals to change their minds so quickly, these experts point to greater measures implemented to guarantee daily testing and procedures that were put in place in the event that a player tests positive. Any player who tests positive will be prohibited from playing for at least three weeks, and teams with a positivity rate higher than 5% over a week long period will have to stop games and practices for at least a week. Players who test positive will also have to pass a cardiac M.R.I exam and undergo other heart-related screenings to monitor the unknown and long-term cardiovascular effects of Covid.

Though some people may be curious as to the health precautions these teams are taking, others wonder how this revised schedule will work. Each team will play eight conference games with no off weeks, and the season will conclude on December 19 with a championship between the first-place teams in the East and West divisions. In addition, there will be exhibition matchups between teams of opposite conferences with the same standings, but matchups may be slightly altered to avoid repetition. 

As a whole, the return of college football seemingly marks a positive turn of events in this pandemic when most events that get postponed or canceled typically stay that way. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the season shakes out and what 2 teams will face off for the championship. Until then, we can only cheer on our favorite teams from our couches rather than the sidelines.