The Big Ten Conference has decided to play conference-only schedules in all fall sports, should the league be able to participate in athletic events in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Conference issued a release detailing the latest news on Thursday. Football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball are all affected.
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.
The decision was made following many 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. 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.
The Big Ten Conference said 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.
In football, the Big Ten’s move eliminates such marquee non-conference matchups as Wisconsin and Notre Dame at Lambeau Field, Michigan and Washington and Ohio State and Oregon.
Wisconsin and Notre Dame are still scheduled to meet in Chicago in the fall of 2021.