Big Ten puts brakes on padded, full-contact practices

Big Ten football teams will not advance to padded, full-contact practices “until further notice” due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the league announced Saturday.

Teams may continue practicing with helmets only.

The announcement came on the same day the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to cancel or postpone the fall football season.

Big Ten
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“We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all,” the Big Ten said in a news release. “As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.”

Pressing pause

The league said the decision to essentially press pause was based on advice from the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

“Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time,” read the news release. “In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.”

The Big Ten intends to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule this season. It kicks off on Sept. 3 and runs through Nov. 21, with the league championship game scheduled for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren prefers postponing the football season to the spring.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)