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Big Ten changes course, will play fall football after all

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 2:02 PM CDT
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UNDATED (AP) - The Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to the spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course and said Wednesday that it plans to begin its season the Oct. 23-24 weekend.

Each team will play eight games in eight weeks and the conference championship game will be held Dec. 19 - if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship.

The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.

The decision to play came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and even President Donald Trump, all of them pushing for a Big Ten football season. The conference is home to a number of battleground states in the November election, and Trump swifly applauded the move in a tweet.

Another factor in triggering the revote was the emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, which wasn’t available when university presidents and chancellors decided to pull the plug on the season. The Big Ten said it will begin daily antigen testing of its athletes, coaches and staff on Sept. 30.

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