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Big Ten announces fall sports will play conference-only schedule

Posted at 4:53 PM, Jul 09, 2020

The Big Ten Conference on Thursday announced it will move to a conference-only schedule for fall sports, including football, for the upcoming season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement impacts men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball.

"We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority," Adam Augustine, assistant commissioner, communications for the Big Ten Conference, said.

Details for fall sports will be released at a later date. Decisions on other fall sports 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," Augustine said.

Summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently allowed to engage in such activities, the conference announced. 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 conference announced.

The Big Ten said the decision was made based on conversations between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, athletic directors, conference office staff and medical experts.

"As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, 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," Augustine said.