Big Ten delaying start of padded practices

Teams in the conference were set to move to full contact practices after having only worn helmets for the first two days of preseason camp.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa State's offense prepares for a play during a football game between Iowa and Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The Hawkeyes retained the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the fifth consecutive year, downing the Cyclones, 18-17. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Sports Editor

The Big Ten announced Saturday morning that football practices in the conference will not progress to full contact as originally scheduled.

Many Big Ten teams, including Iowa, began fall practices Friday in helmets only as part of a two-day acclimatization period. Following the first two days of practicing in helmets only, teams were supposed to transition into full pads.

In a statement, the Big Ten did not announce a date when padded practices could occur.

The full statement from the Big Ten:

“The Big Ten Conference announced today, based on the advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, that, until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football (i.e., helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear) as we continue to transition prudently through preseason practice. All other fall sports will continue to work locally with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity, as necessary, based on current medical protocols.

“Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time. In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.

“We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all. As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.”

The Big Ten released its new 10-game, conference-only football schedule on Wednesday, along with the conference’s COVID-19 medical protocols.

According to multiple reports, including one by Yahoo Sports national college football reporter Pete Thamel, the Big Ten presidents are meeting today to discuss the possibility of competing in a college football season this fall. Thamel said in a tweet that the meeting was previously scheduled.

In another tweet, Thamel said that “all options are on the table.”

Saturday morning, Brett McMurphy of the Stadium Network reported that the MAC has canceled its football season and all other fall sports due to concerns with COVID-19. The MAC became the first FBS conference to decide not to compete this fall.

McMurphy said the conference intends to try and play a football season in the spring.

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