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Big 12 Officially Announces Plan to Proceed with Fall Sports

Big 12 football is on in 2020.

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Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made reports from Tuesday evening official Wednesday morning.

The Big 12 conference will go ahead with fall sports, even after the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided against it. The decision came after a meeting with Big 12 presidents Tuesday evening.

“The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.  “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.  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.”

Football, volleyball and soccer players in the conference will be tested for COVID-19 three times a week, according to the Big 12’s release. If a student-athlete tests positive for the virus, he or she must go through a, electrocardiogram (EKG), troponin blood test, echocardiogram and cardiac MRI.

Nonconference football opponents must also adhere to COVID-19 testing protocols that conform to Big 12 standards during the week leading up to competition.

Another eye-catching sentence in the Big 12’s release: “Stadium capacities will be determined by each member institution in accordance with local and/or state health ordinances, and working with government officials.”

With Tuesday’s release, the Big 12 also released revised conference schedules for each team. It’s still the nine conference games and one non-conference model. Big 12 play will begin on Sept. 26, and any teams’ non-conference games must be done before that.

“The board continues to believe that the health and well-being of our student-athletes must guide all decisions” said board of directors chairman and TCU chancellor Victor Boschini.

“To that end the board has consistently relied on the advice and counsel of top medical experts to determine the viability of available options.  Our student-athletes want to compete, and it is the board’s collective opinion that sports can be conducted safely and in concert with the best interests of their well-being.  We remain vigilant in monitoring the trends and effects of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus.  If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course.”

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