University of Minnesota (UMN) fall football is back in play after The Big Ten rescinded its decision to postpone the season until spring.
The Big Ten Conference canceled fall sports last month “due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The announcement caused widespread backlash within the football community.
Including football, this decision impacted men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Less than a month later, The Big Ten is reversing their decision on football.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) announced the decision Wednesday. The COP/C shared that the “Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force” found that current numbers supported safe competition.
UMN leaders fully support the reinstatement of fall football.
“We have continued to listen to medical professionals and follow their expert advice during the past month,” said UMN President Joan Gabel. “With the additional research, enhanced safety protocols, and a commitment to work closely together as a conference on research and safety for student-athletes, we. are now ready to play football.”
Medical protocol will determine UMN football’s ability to practice and compete. This includes daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening, and reliance on relevant case data. These protocols extend to all student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and individuals on the field for practices and games.
Task force leadership stated that the protocols “will provide major contributions” to student bodies and the community at large. Student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19 must wait at least 21 days and undergo extensive medical evaluations prior to competing.
According to a statement issued to The Minnesota Sun by UMN’s PR Director Jake Ricker, this change of plans won’t impact the college’s decision to cut four men’s teams earlier this month.
“Despite this morning’s announcement, Gopher Athletics is still facing significant loss in revenue, tens of millions of dollars this year alone, and still needs to take steps to ensure compliance with its commitment to provide gender-equitable participation opportunities for students consistent with federal law requirements.”
President Trump tweeted congratulations to the colleges on resuming their season.
“Great News: Big Ten FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!”
Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020
The fall season will begin on October 23- 24. Daily testing for athletes and relevant staff begins September 30.
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