Big Ten football, including Penn State, returning next month

 6abc.com  09/16/2020 11:56:54 

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Big Ten football is coming back.ABC News has confirmed the conference is expected to announce Wednesday morning that Big Ten football will return next month.According to ABC News, the decision was made after several days of debate among the university's presidents and chancellors in light of spiking COVID-19 cases at colleges and universities across the country.The Big Ten conference includes several schools in our region, including Penn State and Rutgers universities.

On Tuesday, Penn State released results of its coronavirus testing for the week of Sept. 4 to 10. Among students tested at the University Park campus, Penn State received 260 positive results from its on-demand testing and 28 positive results from its random screening. Random screening of employees has returned one positive result for University Park so far for the week.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported the Big Ten presidents were presented a comprehensive plan to conduct a fall football season, but a final decision was still to come.A person with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP that the full Council of Presidents and Chancellors heard from all the subcommittees of the conference's Return to Competition Task Force over two and half hours. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not making its return to competition plans public.The person said the meeting broke up without the presidents and chancellors voting and with no set plans for them to reconvene.The AP reported if the Big Ten can start by late October, an eight-game season and conference championship game in mid-December is still possible. That schedule could set up Big Ten teams to be part of the College Football Playoff.
Back on August 11, the Big Ten announced the postponement of fall sports because of concerns about COVID-19.In that statement, the Big Ten said it would continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. ABC News has only confirmed football's return.An hour after the Big Ten's postponement announcement, the Pac-12, the Big Ten's Rose Bowl partner, called a news conference to say that all sports in its conference would be paused until Jan. 1, including basketball.Before postponing its season, the Big Ten's had released a revised conference-only football schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field, but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.----

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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