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Big Ten to start season Oct. 23-24

Penn State football will resume in October.

The Big Ten announced this morning that its season will start with the weekend of Oct. 23-24, based on a recommendation from the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C), who voted unanimously to resume the season.

The league has adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach and its decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group that was established by the COP/C and Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a collaborative and transparent process.

The Big Ten will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing. Test results must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.

“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.

All COVID-19 positive student-athletes will have to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing to include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram and a Cardiac MRI. Following cardiac evaluation, student-athletes must receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university for the primary purpose of cardiac clearance for COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.

Penn State coach James Franklin was pleased.

“We are excited for our guys to have the opportunity to get back to action safely,” he said. “These last several months have been riddled with uncertainty for our student-athletes, but they have handled it with class and dignity. Our guys have remained relentless in following our COVID-19 protocols and in their preparations to be ready to play football. We would like to thank Eric Barron and Sandy Barbour for their continued support and efforts in helping us return. We are so appreciative of the work the Big Ten’s Return to Competition Task Force put in to give us a safe path to playing football this fall. We are also thankful the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten considered the information presented and voted for the safe return to play.”

The league schedule is in the process of being finalized.

The Mirror will have more information online and in Thursday’s print edition.

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