The Big 12 will move forward with plans to play sports this fall, the conference announced today.
The announcement comes after the Pac 12 and Big 10 conferences said yesterday they were postponing fall sports until 2021.
Chancellor Victor Boschini is the Big 12 Board of Directors Chairman and was quoted in the press release announcing the decision.
“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.”
Chancellor Victor Boschini
The conference said it is “enhancing” its COVID-19 protocols to move forward with fall sports. The protocols will include three tests per week in “high contact” sports such as football and volleyball.
Additionally, players who test positive will be required to receive an EKG, troponin blood test, echocardiogram and cardiac MRI to return to play.
According to ESPN, growing evidence of COVID-19’s effect on the heart muscle is part of what drove the Big 10 to postpone fall sports.
At least five Big 10 athletes have been diagnosed with myocarditis this summer, which causes inflammation of the heart muscle.
Michael Emery, a co-director of the sports cardiology department at the Cleveland Clinic, told the Washington Post that medical experts have “strong, serious concerns about the potential for COVID to affect athletes cardiovascularly.”
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he is confident in the conference’s protocols and ability to keep athletes safe.
“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.”
The ACC and SEC said yesterday their plans to play this fall were unchanged by the Pac 12 and Big 10’s postponement.
In recent days the #WeWantToPlay hashtag has become popular among college athletes.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence tweeted out the hashtag along with a picture that asks for the establishment of universal safety protocols and the creation of a college football players association.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 10, 2020
TCU Athletics showed their support for the continuation of play, putting the hashtag on an Instagram caption Tuesday.
The Big 12 also released a new schedule for the upcoming football season. Each team will play nine conference games and one additional game out of conference.
The one non-conference game must be completed before Sept. 26 when conference play is set to begin. Each team will receive two bye weeks, with the possibility for a third.
TCU Athletics announced the university’s first game will be against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 12 in Fort Worth.
TCU will face Iowa State during the first week of conference play Sept. 26, also at home.
Stadium capacity will be determined by individual universities in accordance with local and state health ordinances, according to the Big 12’s release.