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Big Ten postpones 2020 fall sports, hopes to play in spring

Michigan Stadium end zones going blue in 2018
Posted at 2:54 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 23:36:11-04

(WXYZ) — A day after reports surfaced that the Big 10 was canceling football, the schools have postponed all fall sports.

Michigan State Spartans react to football season postponement
University of Michigan athletic officials react to Big Ten postponing fall sports

The conference issued the following statement;

The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.

“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The fall sports included in this announcement are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.

The Big Ten Conference is proud of its 14 world-class research institutions and has leveraged their resources and expertise to address this pandemic over the past five months. The Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee have engaged in extensive research and sharing of materials and conversations with federal, state and local government agencies, and professional and international sports organizations in order to track and better understand the daily updates surrounding this pandemic. Their advice and counsel have been invaluable as they have worked tirelessly over the past several months in their efforts to create and maintain a safe environment for athletics.

The Big Ten Conference will continue to work with medical experts and governmental authorities to gather additional information, evaluate emerging data and technologies, and monitor developments regarding the pandemic to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.

However, a source is telling 7 Action News the schools are reserving the option of playing the fall sports, including football, in spring.

On Monday both Michigan President Mark Schlissel and Michigan State President Samuel Stanley voted to cancel the 2020 Big Ten college football season, according to a report from Dan Patrick.

According to Patrick, 12 of the 14 Big Ten presidents voted to cancel the season, with Iowa and Nebraska the only two who voted to play.

It comes just days after the MAC announced it was canceling the season.

Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh released this statement.

"I would like to address the rumors that are swirling today. I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13.

I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts:

  • The Michigan football program has had 11 positive tests out of 893 administered, including three upon initial return to campus.
  • We have had two positive tests out of the last 417 administered.
  • We have had zero positive tests out of the last 353 administered. ? There have been zero positives tests among the coaches or staff over the entire eight weeks of testing.
  • There has been no contract tracing to our fields, weight room, locker room or facility.
  • We have had zero pauses in our training.
  • We have complied with all CDC guidelines and self‐implemented stricter standards for contacting tracing in quarantining to prevent spread.
  • We have followed all health and safety guidelines and welcome and encourage any health department, University administrators or other sports programs to visit and see how we practice and execute these protocols.
  • As Darryl Conway our Chief Medical Officer and a member of the Big Ten’s Medical Advisory Group has stated, “I wish that others could see this model.”

This isn’t easy. This is hard.

It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results. We respect the challenge that the virus has presented however we will not cower from it.

We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play. If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.

I am forever proud of our players, parents, coaches and staff for being leaders and role models in our sport, at our institution and in society.

We will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, teach, train, and coach those young men and their families that have put their trust in us, while advocating for a football season in the fall.

In quoting President Theodore Roosevelt, we do this “so that our place will not be among the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

#WEWANTTOPLAY
#WEWANTTOCOACH"

College football players from across the country united in an attempt to save a season being threatened by the pandemic and ensure they won't be left out of the big decisions anymore.

After Clemson star Trevor Lawrence sparked a movement by tweeting “we want to play,” he was contacted by a player activist from Michigan and in a couple hours #WeWantToPlay was merged with #WeAreUnited.

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Not only do they want to play, but they want to create a players association for college football.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

—We all want to play football this season.

—Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

—Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

—Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

—Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

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