Well, this feels ominous.
The ongoing will-they-won’t-they trope of the 2020 Big Ten football season threw us another turn on Saturday when the conference announced that schools will hold off padded practices for an indefinite period.
Here’s the Big Ten’s statement in full:
“The Big Ten Conference announced today, based on the advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, that, until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football (i.e., helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear) as we continue to transition prudently through preseason practice. All other fall sports will continue to work locally with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity, as necessary, based on current medical protocols.
“Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time. In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.
“We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all. As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.”
The news comes only two days after the league revealed its revised schedule for the 10-game conference-only season. So that IU-Wisconsin game we’re all eager to watch on Sept. 4? Yeah. It doesn’t feel like that’s happening. At least, not on that particular Friday.
Adding to the Saturday news cycle, the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is believed to prefer a spring football season. Per multiple reports, Big Ten presidents are set to discuss the status of the fall sports season during a meeting this afternoon.
It’s unclear if any decisions will be made.