COVID-19 causes big changes for the Big Ten

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It was a busy day in the sports world that kicked off with the Big Ten conference announcing the new football schedule for each school including Michigan State and Michigan.

The Spartans will start the season on September 5 in East Lansing against Minnesota, while the Wolverines will open up hosting Purdue on the same day. Another new change in the schedule will be Michigan State playing at Michigan for the second year in a row instead of hosting the Wolverines. This is, of course, if the Big Ten football is played at all, something Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says is still up in the air.

Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman said in a statement released today, “The release of the Big Ten football schedule allows us to move forward in our planning for the upcoming season, both as a football team and as an athletic department. At the same time, we understand that a schedule does not guarantee that games will be played. As the Big Ten has repeatedly said, we are prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to public health orders or on the recommendation of medical experts. But as it currently stands, we will put our efforts into preparing to host Minnesota on September 5 in Spartan Stadium in a manner which prioritizes the health and safety of the teams, staffs, and, if they are permitted to attend, our fans.”

At least one Spartan will be sitting this upcoming season out due to concerns over COVID-19. Michigan State senior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk announced on twitter today that he will redshirt this season. In the tweet he says, “I can not risk my health and safety in order to play football this season.”

Other Spartans, like linebacker Antjuan Simmons have joined a large group of big ten players calling on the NCAA to create proper guidelines and protocols for the fall season.

The NCAA announced today that the division three fall championships have been canceled. A decision on division one fall championships will be made by the NCAA division one council. Regardless of division, if any sport sees 50% of its teams cancel their season, the championship for that sport will be canceled as well. Earlier today the university of Connecticut became the first division one FBS program to cancel its football season.

The Huskies are independent for football, so scheduling options were already limited as most conferences have restricted play to within their own conferences.

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