CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It was the news the Illini wanted to hear.
Big Ten football is back.
Conference presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to restart the football season starting the weekend of Oct. 23. The Big Ten will play a nine-game schedule including the week before Christmas.
On Aug. 11 the Big Ten voted to postpone football until the spring.
Josh Whitman/Illinois director of athletics: “I know how much today’s decision means to (the players) with the opportunity to go out into Memorial Stadium and play a Big Ten schedule, a chance to compete for a Big Ten championship, and have the opportunity to participate in the postseason are all very meaningful things,” said Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman.
The access to daily testing with rapid results was a key factor in the Big Ten’s decision to move forward with a fall schedule.
“It’s helped an awful lot being here at the University of Illinois, where we’ve been able to get testing. So it’s not like we’re going to have to change up an awful lot of what we do,” Illinois footbal lcoach Lovie Smith said.
Football players throughout the conference will undergo daily COVID test starting Sept. 30. If players test positive, they’ll have to sit out three weeks.
“To do your job as a teammate, you have to take care of business off the field and I have all the confidence in the world that our guys will actually do that,” Smith said.