The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP / C) have adopted medical protocols, including daily antigen testing, improved cardiac screening, and improved data-based approaches when making decisions about practice / competition. COP / C unanimously voted to resume the football season, which begins the weekend from October 23 to 24, 2020. The decision was based on information provided by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group founded by COP / C. Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a cooperative and transparent process.
The Big Ten requires daily antigen testing for student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and other trainings and games. Test results should be completed and recorded before each workout and game. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is required to confirm the results of the POC test for student-athletes who test positive for the corona virus through a daily Point of Contact (POC) test.
“Everyone involved with the Big Ten should be very proud of the breakthrough measures that have now been taken to better protect the health and safety of student-athletes and the communities around them,” said Ohio State Head Team Physician Dr. Jim Borchers said. Co-Chair of the University, Return to Competition Task Force Medical Subcommittee.
“The data we are going to collect from the test and the cardiac registry will make a significant contribution to the study of COVID-19 for 14 Big Ten institutions and to try to mitigate the spread of the disease across a wider community.”
Each organization will appoint a Chief Infection Officer (CNO) who will oversee the collection and reporting of data for the Big Ten Conference. Team Test Positive Rate and Population Positive Rate Thresholds will be used to determine recommendations for continuing training and competition.
All COVID-19 positive student-athletes are required to undergo a comprehensive cardiac examination to include labs, biomarkers, ECG, echocardiogram, and a cardiac MRI. Following a cardiac assessment, student-athletes must obtain a COVID-19 positive student-athlete clearance from a cardiologist designated by the University for the primary need of cardiac clearance. A student-athlete is able to return to the game 21 days after the COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
In addition to approved medical protocols, 14 Big Ten institutions will establish a cardiac registry to check the results of COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The registry and related data will attempt to answer many of the questions about cardiac performance in COVID-19 Positive Elite athletes.
“From the very beginning of Pandemic our highest priority has been the health and safety of our students. The new medical protocols and standards introduced by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force were crucial in the decision to move forward with sports at the conference, ”said Morton Shapiro, chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Northwestern University. President and Chair of the Competitive Task Force Steering Committee. “We appreciate the conference’s commitment to developing the necessary security procedures for our students and the communities that receive them.”
For the past six weeks our focus with the Task Force has been on ensuring the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal is always to return to competition, so that all student-athletes can realize their desire to participate in the sport of their choice, ”said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work done by our competitive task force to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches and administrators. ”
The Big Ten Conference will use data provided by each Chief Infection Officer (CNO) to determine the continuity of training and competition that determines team positivity rates and population positivity rates based on a seven-day rolling average:
- Team Positivity Rate (Number of positive tests divided by number of administrative tests):
- Green 0-2%
- Orange 2-5%
- Red > 5%
- Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population):
- Green 0-3.5%
- Orange 3.5-7.5%
- Red > 7.5%
Decisions to change or discontinue training and competition will be based on the following circumstances:
- Green/Green And Green/Orange: The team continues in regular training and competition.
- Orange/Orange And Orange/Red: The team must proceed with caution and increase COVID-19 resistance (change training and meeting schedule, consider the possibility of staying in the scheduled competition).
- Red/Red: The team should stop regular training and competition for at least seven days and re-evaluate the measurements until they improve.
Daily inspections will begin by September 30, 2020.
Gradually all Big Ten sports will require testing protocols before resuming competition. Fall sports other than football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming, diving and wrestling will be announced soon.
Big Ten Conference It is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, undergraduate, professional, graduate teaching, and public service. Founded in 1896, Big Ten maintains a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies for the implementation of academic priorities and emphasis on the values of integrity, reasoning, and competitiveness in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics. The broad-based programs of 14 Big Ten institutions provide direct financial assistance of more than $ 200 million to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities in 350 teams across 42 different sports. Since 2013, Big Ten has sponsored 28 official official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women. Men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse have been included since 2013. Visit for more information www.bigten.org.