The Big Ten announced it will resume the 2020-21 football season under stringent testing protocols after a month of speculation and backlash from fans and alumni.
The season will begin Oct. 23-24, according to a statement released by the conference Wednesday morning, after the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously in favor of the restart.
"Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the ground-breaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities," said Dr. Jim Borchers, co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.
Big Ten schools will designate a "chief infection officer" to oversee the collection and reporting of COVID-19 data within the teams. The data will be used to "determine recommendations for continuing practice and competition," according to the statement.
If a college's team exceeds a 5% positivity rate and the campus population exceeds a 7.5% positivity rate — a metric based on the number of positive individuals divided by the total at-risk population — that team must halt practice and competition for at least seven days until it has improved, per the announcement.
Any COVID-19-positive athletes will also be required to undergo cardiac testing, and a cardiac registry will be established among the schools. The announcement states a student-athlete could return to competition 21 days after a positive test, at the earliest.