Big Ten releases 2020 football schedules, COVID-19 protocols for fall sports

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 23: The Big Ten Conference logo at Memorial Stadium following a college football game between the Michigan Wolverines and Indiana Hoosiers on November 23, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN.(Photo by James Black/I (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Big Ten released the 10-game, conference-only schedules for the 2020 football season Wednesday, but said the seasons for all fall sports could still be delayed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.” 

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The Big Ten said it is continuing to plan for fall sports, but is prepared to delay or cancel the season based on local or state public health orders or recommendations from medical experts. 

The Big Ten also announced it has postponed the start dates for the men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball seasons. The conference said the conference-only schedules for those sports will be released at a later date because scheduling remains “fluid.” 

Wednesday, the Big Ten also released its medical policies and protocols for all sports. Student-athletes in sports that have a high risk of contact, such as football, will be tested at least twice per week during the competitive season, while student-athletes in all of all other sports will be tested at least once per week. Coaches and staff will be tested as well, depending on their exposure to student-athletes. 

The Big Ten said its protocols will be updated regularly as new information about the pandemic becomes available and based on feedback from student-athletes. 

The conference previously announced that student-athletes who do not feel safe participating in intercollegiate athletics at any point during the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will retain their scholarships and remain in good standing with their team.