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Big Ten Reverses Course, Will Start College Football Season in October

(Image credit: ESPN)

 The Big Ten Conference said Wednesday it will now play its 2020 season beginning in October, nearly a month after initially announcing it would postpone all fall athletics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 14-team Big Ten will begin an eight-game season the weekend of Oct. 24, with a Big Ten championship game set for Dec. 19, said officials from the conference, which includes such teams as Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State. Players and coaches will be required to undergo daily antigen testing, with results needing to be completed and reported prior to each practice and game, according to bigten.org

The decision comes more than a month after the conference officially  postpone its fall sports program, including its college football schedule, due to the pandemic.

The Big 10’s move leaves the Pac-12 as the only "Power Five" conference not playing football this fall. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday the conference is not planning to return to the field in the near future. 

"At this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,” Scott said in a statement. “We are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practices and competition. We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality throughout our region at this time. We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals." 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.