UNIVERSITY PARK – If the intercollegiate fall sports season takes place, teams – including Penn State – will play conference-only games, the Big Ten announced on Thursday.
The fall sports currently affected include men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be under evaluation.
The decision was made following medical advice amid unprecedented circumstances and considering the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches, game officials, etc., according to the statement.
“By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season.”
It will also allow the conference to “make quick decisions in real-time based on the most-current, evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”
This decision was made following months of discussion between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, directors of athletics, conference office staff and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
In addition, the conference announced Thursday that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities.
Big Ten student-athletes can opt not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19.
These student-athletes will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.
Big Ten institutions will also continue to rely on the most up-to-date medical information to establish protocols for voluntary workouts on their campuses in compliance with local and state regulations.
The conference will work with the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee to finalize conference-wide protocols.
“As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, …. we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate.”