Earlier today the Big Ten Conference announced that football will begin playing the 2020 fall season on October 23rd and 24th. The announcement reverses the August 11th decision to postpone the fall athletic season until the spring of 2021.
Daily Rapid Testing and Cardiac Screenings
The vote from presidents and chancellors to return to the gridiron was unanimous from all 14 schools. The main reason is the availability for daily rapid antigen testing that will now be made available across the conference.
The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
In addition to the medical protocols approved, the 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry in an effort to examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes.
Local Athletes Back on the Field
Several Naperville area athletes will now be able to compete once again this fall.
Michigan State University is home to three former Naperville Central Redhawk teammates. Redshirt freshman quarterback Payton Thorne, Western Michigan transfer and sophomore wide receiver Jayden Reed and sophomore wide receiver Cade McDonald.
Their former teammate is now a rival as Naperville Central grad Danny Hughes is a sophomore running back at the University of Michigan.
The University of Illinois has junior wide receiver Donny Navarro, a Neuqua Valley grad, who went from walk on to earning a scholarship last season. There are also two Benet Academy alumni on the Illini roster in junior fullback/linebacker Alec McEachern and redshirt freshman long snapper Aidan Hall.
Another Benet Academy grad, Jack Eschenbach, is a redshirt sophomore tight end at the University of Wisconsin.
Metea Valley graduate Bryce Effner is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Penn State University.
The positivity rates at each school will be tracked as follows:
- 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.
Other Big Ten Fall Sports
The Big Ten also said that they will be announcing the return plan for the remainder of the fall 2020 sports on Thursday, in addition to plans involving the Big Ten winter sports.