Nebraska will start football season at Rutgers; full schedule
The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played.
The Big Ten had announced a month ago it would shorten the season and eliminate non-conference games because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the revised schedule, teams will play conference opponents they originally were set to meet and will have one additional cross-division game.
The regular season starts the weekend of Sept. 5 and runs through Nov. 21. Nov. 28 is a uniform open date. The 10 games would be played over at least 12 weeks, with each team having two open dates, for a total of three. If necessary, makeup games can be played during bye weeks.
If the coronavirus situation dictates, the season could start Sept. 12, 19 or 26.
The Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis remains scheduled for Dec. 5 but could moved as late as Dec. 19.
The conference will allow teams to begin preseason practices Friday, or earlier if a team’s season begins before Sept. 5.
Rutgers, Michigan State and Northwestern have shut down voluntary workouts because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Here’s a look at the Husker football schedule for this season:
Sept 5: Rutgers (away)
Sept 12: Illinois (home)
Sept 19: Wisconsin (home)
Sept 26: Iowa (away)
Oct 3: Minnesota (home)
Oct 10: Ohio State ((away)
Oct 17: Bye
Oct 24: Northwestern (away)
Oct 31: Penn State (home)
Nov 7: Bye
Nov 14: Purdue (away)
Nov 21: Michigan State (home)
Dec 5: Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green and Athletic Director Bill Moos released the following statement on Wednesday’s announcement:
“We welcome these important steps forward for fall football from the Big Ten. There has been a tremendous amount of consultation and hard work to get to this point. It was a team effort with valuable input from the Big Ten Conference staff, University chancellors and presidents, head coaches and athletic directors to develop a football schedule that prioritizes divisional games and provides some needed flexibility.
“The top priority remains to conduct a football season in the safest and healthiest manner possible for everyone involved. There are still many steps ahead before we can take the field in September, beginning with opening preseason camp later this week. But there is no question this is an exciting day at Nebraska. Our players and coaching staff now have a schedule in front of them, and Husker fans can see how the 2020 season will unfold.
“Our next task is finalizing many of the details and protocols for football game days at Memorial Stadium in 2020. We will be announcing those details very soon after consultation with state and local officials. We want to especially thank Dr. Chris Kratochvil of UNMC for his work leading the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases. He has been immensely helpful in helping to guide the conference forward.
“Nebraska is getting closer to seeing our beloved Huskers take the field. We, and all of Husker Nation, very much look forward to our first away game on September 5 at Rutgers and our first home game the following week against Illinois.”
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said while the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.
He said our country is navigating unprecedented times and throughout all decisions, the health and safety of our students, student-athletes, and everyone associated with our Big Ten university communities remains our primary focus as we work with our institutions to provide a healthy and productive learning environment that includes intercollegiate athletic competition.
“In making this announcement, the Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate,” the conference said in a statement. “While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur. While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”
The conference also released its medical policies and protocols for all sports on testing requirements, and quarantine and isolation. Testing will be managed by a third-party laboratory to ensure consistency across the conference.
Testing frequency will be based on the level of contact risk within each sport and is required for athletes, coaches and staff depending upon exposure to the athletes.
Sports that have a high risk of contact will have a minimum of two tests per week during the competitive season. All other sports will have a minimum of one test per week.
“Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate a safe return to campus for our students this fall,” said Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, chairman of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have prioritized the health and safety of our students. Their welfare is paramount and remains at the forefront of all of our decisions.”
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