Following the lead of the Ivy League, who announced this week that the conference will be cancelling all fall sports, the Big Ten has announced that they will be modifying the 2020-2021 schedule to a limited pool of conference games only for fall sports, including football, soccer and volleyball.
The decision comes at the heels of increasing concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic that currently has a growing case-count in the United States.
You can find the full statement from the conference below.
“We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority.
To that end, the Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.
This decision was made following many thoughtful conversations over several months between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Directors of Athletics, Conference Office staff, and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.
While Big Ten member institutions continue to rely on the most up-to-date medical information to establish the best protocols for voluntary workouts on their campuses, in compliance with local and state regulations, the Conference is working with the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee to finalize Conference-wide protocols.
As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate.”Big Ten Release
Indiana University athletic director Scott Dolson released a statement regarding the Big Ten’s decision.
“Throughout this process the health and safety of our students, coaches, staff and fans has been our number one priority, and I want to thank Commissioner Warren for his leadership as we navigate these unprecedented and challenging times. I also appreciate the tremendous support and patience that our fans continue to display as we map out the best path to be able to move forward safely. Along with my fellow Big Ten athletic directors, we know that there remain many questions that still need to be answered, and we will work toward finding those answers in the coming weeks.”IU athletic director Scott Dolson
Student-athletes across the Big Ten have returned to campus in the past month to begin summer workouts. During this time, schools have performed testing plans at an institution level with differing level of results. In some cases, schools have had to pause workouts due to the number of confirmed cases.
IU performed testing in the middle of June and returned zero positive tests. 187 tests were administered across student-athletes, coaches and support staff.
Revised 2020 Indiana Football Schedule
As with any developing situation, the Big Ten has kept the door open to further modify the schedule as they see fit. As seen with the Ivy League’s decision, a full cancellation or postponement of the season is not entirely out of question. For the Hoosiers, the decision means that they will be foregoing games against Western Kentucky, Ball State and Connecticut.
At the moment, Indiana will be playing the following nine-game regular season schedule:
- @ Wisconsin
- @ Rutgers
- Michigan State
- Penn State
- @ Ohio State
- @ Michigan