The Big 12 conference board of directors have agreed to proceed with plans for a football season in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Big 12 member institutions have committed to enhanced coronavirus testing that includes three tests per week in contact sports such as football. Additionally, return to play protocols after positive occurrences will include an electrocardiogram (EKG), troponin blood test, echocardiogram, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Non-conference football opponents must also adhere to COVID-19 testing protocols that conform to Big 12 standards during the week leading up to competition.
“The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week. Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we’ve seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.
“We believe all of this combines to create an ideal learning and training situation during this time of COVID-19. Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome.”
In moving forward with planning for the upcoming fall sports season the Conference is also releasing its revised 2020 conference football schedule. The nine-plus-one scheduling model features a September 26 start date for conference play. Each team will have a minimum of two bye dates and potentially a third bye late in the season.
The Big 12 Championship Game is tentatively scheduled for December 12. All non-conference games must be completed before September 26 and the match-ups will be announced by each individual conference member. Stadium capacities will be determined by each member institution in accordance with local and/or state health ordinances, and working with government officials.
Big 12 competition will commence after September 1 to ensure consistent health and safety protocols. The NCAA’s reigning rushing champ and Canadian Heisman hopeful Chuba Hubbard was one of dozens of prominent players to share a formatted statement in an attempt to save the college football season and it worked for the Big 12.