Big Ten football is coming back in October: What we know about upcoming season

SportsPulse: Paul Myerberg breaks down what the Big Ten’s restart means for the college football landscape and why a playoff and title game without the conference involved was always going to be questioned.

USA TODAY

The Big Ten’s on-again, off-again fall football season is on again for now. The league announced Wednesday morning that with enhanced medical protocols in place, the school presidents and chancellors now believe competition can be conducted safely through the COVID-19 pandemic, starting the weekend of Oct. 24.

Here’s what we know.

Why the change of heart?

In the announcement, The Big Ten’s presidents cited new information by the league’s medical advisory board last weekend, including the imminent availability of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19.

“From the onset of the pandemic, our highest priority has been the health and the safety of our students. The new medical protocols and standards put into place by the Big Ten Return To Competition Task Force were pivotal in the decision to move forward with sports in the conference,” said Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, who chairs the Big Ten’s council of presidents and chancellors. 

But the Big Ten’s presidents faced pressure from players, coaches and politicians as well.

Is there a schedule? 

No, not yet. The season will begin the weekend of Oct. 24, with the possibility of a Friday night game or two on the 23rd. But the full eight-game schedule is still being worked out. Look for it in the next few days, Wisconsin athletic director and Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force football scheduling chair Barry Alvarez said.

ANALYSIS: Winners and losers from the Big Ten decision play football

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