The Big Ten will slow down the typical acclimatization period for fall practices and will not allow teams to wear pads and engage in full contact activities “until further notice,” the league said on Saturday. .
The ruling creates further doubt and uncertainty about the Bowl Subdivision’s ability to compete in 2020 amid growing health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Each new phase of activity brings new information and experiences and allows us to assess the implementation of our conference and institutional medical protocols in real time,” the Big Ten said in a statement.
“In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate activity phase mentioned above while we digest and share each other’s information. campus to make sure we proceed with caution. “
According to the league’s decision, athletes can only wear helmets during practice. In a normal offseason, all preseason training begins with a five-day acclimatization period that limits daily field practices to three hours. On the third day, athletes can wear shoulder pads and helmets. From the fifth day of the acclimatization period, athletes can train in full pads.
The continuous and atypical offseason of the Bowl Subdivision prevented teams from engaging in the traditional flow of activities. Under measures adopted by the NCAA earlier this summer, teams were allowed to begin voluntary practices in June and begin preseason practices this month.
“We understand that there are a lot of questions about how this affects schedules, as well as the feasibility of continuing the season,” the league said. “As we have always said, we will continue to assess daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best possible decisions for the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes.”
The Big Ten’s announcement comes on the same day that the first FBS conference, the MAC, said it would not be playing football in the fall. In addition to existing health and safety concerns, the MAC’s season had been called into question due to the league’s long-standing non-conference relationship with the Big Ten, an annual revenue driver in the athletic departments. from MAC.
But the Big Ten were the first Power Five league to eliminate non-conference play and announce a conference-only schedule on July 9. All of the other Power Five leagues have announced similar plans, although the ACC and Big 12 allow their members to play a game outside of the conference.