Big 12 doubling down on plans to play college football season

Don’t mistake the Big Ten and Pac-12 cancelling all fall sports for the end of college football in 2020.

At least not yet.

If you need more proof that the sport is geographical and controlled by conferences rather than the overarching NCAA, consider the Big 12’s renewed commitment Wednesday to moving forward with all fall sports.

“Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement, “and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome.”

The Big 12 is revamping college football schedules to include nine conference games plus one non-conference matchup.

“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.”

The Big 12 will test athletes three times per week in football, volleyball and soccer, which are considered “high contact.” Return-to-play protocols after positive tests will include an EKG, troponin blood test, echocardiogram, and cardiac MRI.

“The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week,” 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.”

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