Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has now given reasoning for the conference’s decision to postpone the 2020-21 fall sports season.
In an open letter to the Big Ten community, Warren says the primary factors for the decision from the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) are the rise of transmission rates of COVID-19, not enough knowledge of the virus, and concerns surrounding contact tracing.
According to the open letter, when teams began “more intense practices, many of our medical staffs did not think the interventions we had planned would be adequate to decrease the potential spread even with very regular testing.” Warren cited the spread to student-athletes from the general student population as a concern.
Although there had been conflicting reports since the Big Ten decided to postpone fall sports on if the COP/C even held a formal vote, Warren says the vote “was overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited.”
The letter says the Big Ten will look to help fall student-athletes get back to sport by assembling a Return to Competition Task Force that will consist of members from the COP/C, sports medicine and university medical personnel, Athletic Directors, Head Coaches, Faculty Athletic Representatives and Senior Women Administrators.
“In evaluating winter/spring models,” says Warren. “We will explore many factors including the number of football games that can reasonably be played from a health perspective in a full calendar year while maintaining a premier competitive experience for our student-athletes culminating in a Big Ten Championship.”