B1G releases New FB schedule

By Eric Rynston-Lobel

The Big Ten released its updated 2020 football schedule on Wednesday following the conference’s decision to only play conference games.

Northwestern now plans to kick off the season against Penn State on September 5, with the regular season scheduled to conclude on 11/21 against Michigan.

The schedule release comes roughly 36 hours after Northwestern paused its voluntary workouts after one player tested positive for COVID-19.

“During this time medical staff will implement the University’s rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff,” a statement from the program read.

The Wildcats were initially supposed to play Michigan State, Maryland and Penn State in their crossover games from the Big Ten East. Now, Northwestern expects to play Penn State, Maryland, Michigan State and Michigan in addition to the six other teams in the Big Ten West.

The schedule also includes several bye weeks for each team, allowing ample opportunities for makeup games in the event of COVID-19-related postponements. Each team has two scheduled bye weeks as well as a league-wide open date for Thanksgiving weekend.

However, the schedule release doesn’t mean we’re any more likely to see college football played in 2020. Per Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, a “top Big Ten source” estimates there’s a 25% chance college football will take place this fall. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren told the Chicago Tribune: “The majority of [our student-athletes] have made it clear: they want to participate in sports in the fall so long as it is done in a safe and healthy manner.”

Although Northwestern football has only reported one positive COVID-19 test so far, other Big Ten schools haven’t been as lucky. Monday night, it was reported that Rutgers now has 28 positive COVID-19 cases among players and staff, up from the 15 cases the team reported on July 29, according to Keith Sargeant of NJ.com. 

Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana and Maryland are the other Big Ten schools that have paused workouts at some point this summer.

The conference also announced plans to test all student-athletes twice per week using a third-party lab used by all teams.

As of now, the Wildcats expect to return to voluntary activities on Wednesday.

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