Big Ten announces return to play for football, season to start weekend of Oct. 23.

By Zain Bando and Mariah Guzman

After seven weeks of waiting, the Big Ten and all 14 school presidents have come to an agreement that will allow football to begin its season the weekend of Oct. 23, according to a conference press release earlier this morning.

The Big Ten announced that the vote amongst the Council of Presidents and Chancellors was unanimous.

“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

Per the release, schools are required daily rapid testing before practices and games, and if a player were to test positive, quarantine would begin immediately.

“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee. 

If a student-athlete were to test positive, the earliest he or she could return to the field is three weeks after the results come in and isolation has been completed.

The season will span across eight weeks with no traditional byes, culminating with the annual conference title game, likely in Indianapolis, Dec. 19.

Other fall sports will be announced at a later date, along with major winter sports like men’s basketball, as they hope to return to play soon.

Needless to say, everyone a part of Illinois Football is happy.

UI7 Live and Illini Sports Night will have more as the story develops.

Zain Bando

I am an incoming junior majoring in journalism at UIUC. Currently, I work for WPGU as the social media director for Rollin' Illini. Rollin' Illini is the only show that specializes in disability-related sports on-campus. In addition, I work for BTN Student U and Fighting Illini Productions, as well as cover the Illini and mixed martial arts for FanSided Daily as a freelancer. I enjoy storytelling and understanding of different types of perspectives, which is what I hope to gain from a potential career.