Big Ten announces updated football schedules

Sports

WCIA — The updated Big Ten schedules are out and Illinois draws the opening spotlight and first crack at the defending champion Ohio St. Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes will come to Champaign for a Thursday night game on Sept. 3. It’s the first game in the new revamped conference schedule, that features 10-league only games for each team. An additional crossover game was added for each program, with Illinois getting a home match-up with Penn State in the regular season finale on Nov. 21.

Opening up against the Buckeyes doesn’t faze Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman, who appeared on the Big Ten Network’s schedule release show on Wednesday morning.

“I think every college football player in the country has been waiting for some certainty, has been waiting for some idea of what the future could look like,” Whitman said. “So for us to put the schedule in front of them, and for our opener to be at home, national prime time game, the first game out of the shoot at a high major level, I know that our guys are incredibly excited about it.”

The Illini will officially opening fall training camp on Thursday. It was originally scheduled to start a day later on Aug. 7, but with the season opener happening Sept. 3, the team can move it up a day.

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The Big Ten also unveiled its COVID-19 medical policies and protocols for the fall.

COVID-19 Virus Testing Bulletin
• All sports will be required to test a minimum of once weekly, while sports with high contact risk
will be required to test a minimum of twice weekly
• Required testing frequency is based upon the level of contact risk within the sport and is
required for student-athletes as well as coaches and additional staff members
• The Conference will coordinate centralized testing through a third-party testing laboratory for
consistency in surveillance and pre-competition testing
• The required testing, at this time, for COVID-19 must use polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
testing
• Institutions may supplement the required Conference testing with additional testing performed
for surveillance or clinical purposes

COVID-19 Quarantine & Isolation Bulletin
• Areas referenced by this bulletin include:
o Surveillance methods, including symptom questionnaires, clinical evaluations, testing and
contact tracing
o Definition of close contact of COVID-19 positive/suspected infection
o Quarantine: 14 days required per current national guidelines, without ability to test out of
quarantine
o Return to play protocols after a close contact
o Response to a Presumed Infection
o Definition of a Person Under Investigation, including in the pre-competition, in-competition
and post-competition timeframes
o Response to a Confirmed Infection, including both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases

The league also announced other fall sport games will be pushed back until at least Sept. 5. At Illinois, that means volleyball, cross country and soccer will not be able to compete until next month, at the earliest.

The Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will not take place this fall, they’re tentatively being postponed until a men’s basketball weekend early next year.

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