For college football fans of the Big Ten Conference, it has been an off season of angst, uncertainty and, ultimately, disappointment after an August announcement that there would be no fall season. But now the Big Ten is preparing to give it another try beginning later this month with a shortened, conference-only season.
The nine-week season is set to begin October 24 and Indiana University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson tells Inside INdiana Sports Host Bill Benner the schools were very much involved in the process of returning.
“(The conference) involved a lot,” said Dolson. “We really worked closely with Commissioner Warren and we said from the start that we’d listen to the medical experts and from the time we postponed, we really worked diligently to try to look into the testing availability to make certain it was uniform across the Big Ten, the cardiac restart protocols and, ultimately, on our individual campuses, working closely with your president or chancellor.”
Dolson says creating a uniform testing system for all 14 schools in the Big Ten was critical to the process of returning to football.
All other fall sports in the Big Ten are still being postponed until the spring. Dolson says that decision was made for several reasons.
“Number one, the NCAA championships for those fall sports were moved to the spring. In addition to that, we really felt in talking with the Big Ten athletic directors and the commissioner that we really wanted to make certain we get football going and really work the kinks out and understand kind of how things evolve regarding the protocols, then ultimately, we’ll be in a better position to move forward with the fall sports in the spring.”
IU will kick off the shortened season against Penn State University. Dolson says not having fans in the stands is disappointing, but necessary.
“That’s part of kind make sure it’s uniform across the Big Ten and really because we had different guidelines from communities across the Big Ten, we felt it was best to go that way. So we’ll have the families and parents of players and staff, but other than that, it’ll be a pretty skeleton operation. But again, we’re just excited to get going.”