Big Ten football will resume October 23, the conference announced Wednesday morning. Details on the resumption of all other fall sports will be announced at a later time.
“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love.”
The conference’s announcement comes after months of speculation about the ultimate fate of the season. On Aug. 11, the Big Ten officially postponed its fall season across all sports. Limited access to testing, fears of myocarditis and general concern about athlete safety seemed to make a fall slate impossible.
But the talk of sports happening in the fall never went away, particularly as programs across the country returned to action — the Big Ten and Pac-12 were the only Power Five conferences to postpone their fall seasons.
And now, it appears that Big Ten football will have the chance to take the field next month.
For Maryland, the announcement comes after almost two weeks of athletic shutdown. On Sept. 3, this university announced 46 athletes had tested positive for COVID-19. The athletic department canceled practices immediately, in what the department called a “precautionary measure” and university President Darryll Pines called a “reprimand.” Thirteen teams have since restarted activities, including football, while seven remain sidelined.
Some schools in the conference had been particularly vocal about resuming play prior to the announcement. Nebraska and Ohio State, in particular, have vocalized their desire for sports to return, with Buckeyes football coach Ryan Day asking the conference to start the season in mid-October. President Trump had also spoken out about the conference several times and had a “productive conversation” with Warren on Sept. 1.