Big Ten rethinking a fall football season

A little more than a month after pulling the plug on the fall football season, the Big Ten is apparently reconsidering the decision.

The conference’s council of presidents and chancellors are scheduled to meet on Sunday to possibly vote on reinstating the season with games potentially beginning as early as mid to late October, according to a report from ESPN. The meeting of presidents and chancellors follows the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force’s medical subcommittee presenting on Saturday to the conference’s steering committee of presidents and chancellors.

The report from ESPN indicated Saturday’s meeting centered on medical information while Sunday’s will include conversations on when to start playing and medical thresholds required to return. The emergence of rapid COVID-19 testing appears to be a key element in reconsidering playing this fall.

The Big Ten on Aug. 11 canceled fall sports, with the possibility of playing in the spring, due to the coronavirus pandemic. That was followed by backlash from players, coaches, parents and administrators. Politicians, including President Donald Trump, have weighed in and eight Nebraska players are suing the conference to have the season reinstated.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren declined to offer specifics about the vote to scrap fall sports when it was first announced and Minnesota president Joan Gabel and Michigan State president Samuel Stanley indicated it wasn’t really an official vote. The conference, in response to the lawsuit, said the vote was 11-3 to postpone the season and Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa were reportedly the three schools that voted against delaying.

Conference bylaws indicate 60 percent of presidents and chancellors will have to vote to approve reinstating the season. That means six who voted against playing this fall will have to change their minds, although ESPN reported it’s possible not all Big Ten schools will choose to play this fall.

The Big Ten was the third FBS conference and first Power Five league to cancel the fall season. The SEC, ACC and Big 12, along with the AAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA, have marched forward with the season, although there have been multiple games postponed already.