UM, MSU Excited to See Football Return, Fans Have Mixed Reactions

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Michigan sports fans had mixed reactions after the Big Ten conference announced it would be bringing back football this year, while conference leaders rejoiced.

The conference, which had originally postponed playing because of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Wednesday that it will resume games on October 24, according to ESPN.

Each team will play eight games in the eight weeks before the Big Ten championship on December 19, completing its season before the December 20 Selection Day for the College Football Playoff.

Members of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University teams have expressed excitement at playing.

“Great news today. Over the past month, I could sense the anticipation from our players and coaches, and I’m thrilled on their behalf that they will have a chance to play a 2020 season,” said UM coach Jim Harbaugh in a statement on Wednesday. “Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football.”

Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker echoed Harbaugh’s statement.

“From daily antigen testing for all of our players, coaches, and staff to extensive cardiac protocols and protection, the Big Ten Conference and Michigan State are leading the charge to put our players on the field safely and competitively,” Tucker said in a statement. “Our players have been relentlessly training in our strength and conditioning program and we will be ready to compete. Thank you to all our Spartan fans for your support and the Big Ten Task Force and the medical leaders who got us here today. Go Green!”

Fans will not be allowed to attend games, although the league is working on a plan to allow families of players and staff to attend, ESPN reported.

Reaction to the return of Michigan sports was mixed, with some fans cheering bringing it back, while others questioned the safety of it.

 

The conference will begin a daily rapid testing program on all 14 campuses on September 30, and test results must be completed before each practice or game, ESPN said. Athletes who test positive must confirm the result with a polymerase chain reaction test and those who test positive must wait at least 21 days before returning to competition.

If a team has a positivity rate of more than five percent or a population with a positivity rate more than 7.5 percent, it must pause practice and competition for at least seven days, according to ESPN. It also must “proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention” if the team’s positive rate is between two and five percent or the population’s rate is between 3.5 and 75 percent.

“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” Dr. Jim Borchers, head team physician at Ohio State and co-chair of the return to competition task force’s medical subcommittee, said in a statement, ESPN said. “The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities.”

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Michigan Star and Star News Digital Media. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “University of Michigan Football” by flickr user larrysphatpage. CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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