After initially postponing its fall football season, the Big Ten officially announced today it will resume play on Oct. 24 after league presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to resume competition.
According to the conference's statement posted earlier today, the decision to resume play was made based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, which was established by Big Ten President Kevin Warren back in August.
The Big Ten will attempt to play eight in-conference games with no bye weeks before the conference championship on Dec. 19, to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Fans are not expected to be able to attend games, which will be held on campus throughout the season.
A daily rapid testing program will begin on Sept. 30 on all 14 Big Ten campuses. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game.
A full schedule for teams will not be released Wednesday, according to ESPN.
It was back on August 11 that the Big Ten initially postponed its fall athletics season, due to concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. In that vote, school presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to not play the season, with Iowa, Ohio State, and Nebraska voting to follow through with the season.
This initial move prompted strong criticism against Warren and the conference, with players, coaches, administrators, parents, and politicians repeatedly asking why the league had decided not to play when others were doing so. Back on Aug. 21, several parents of Big Ten players protested outside the league's headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, and subsequent parent-led protests took place at Ohio State and Michigan.
In late August, eight Nebraska players filed a lawsuit against their parent league, seeking to invalidate the postponement of the fall football season and to award damages. The case is still pending.
Warren followed this with an open letter stating that the vote by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors was "overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited."
The Big Ten's move now currently makes the Pac-12 the only Power Five conference to still have its fall football season postponed, although ESPN has reported the latter conference's most aggressive plan for a return to play would be mid to late November at the earliest.
Six Big Ten teams appeared in the AP's preseason poll, including No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State.