EAST LANSING, Mich. — A month ago when the Big Ten announced it was postponing its season, Wednesday’s reversal seemed unthinkable.
Until untimely, it wasn’t.
“The coaches, the students, they’re ready to go,” said MSU athletic director Bill Beekman via a zoom call with reporters later in the afternoon.
To say they’re excited in East Lansing would be the understatement of the year. With a start date of either Oct. 23 or 24, the Big Ten season is back on and Spartan fans can thank public and political pressure for it as well as the advancement of COVID-19 testing.
“It became clear that there were options available for rapid antigen testing where you could literally test someone at say eight in the morning and by 8:30 or 8:45 have back the results of that test,” Beekman said.
As the Big Ten begins COVID-19 testing on Sept. 30, the conference says safety will be a top priority in a shortened eight game plus one season. (Should a player test positive, he would be out of game action for at least 21 days)
While clearly a plan is in place, questions on details both small and large remain, especially after MSU athletic director Bill Beekman admitted that with no bye week on the schedule, the Big Ten still doesn't know what would happen should a team have to postpone a game due to a mass COVID-19 spread.
“It’s probably inevitable that of the 14 teams, there will be a time when one or more teams can’t play,” he said. “We haven’t worked through as a conference all the details of what that will mean."
One thing they have worked out and made quite clear is that other than the possibility of family members of players and staff, there likely will be no one else in the stands this year.
Like the 13 other teams in the conference, MSU does not know its schedule just yet. The conference plans to release them by the end of the week.
Notes: Beekman denied reports Michigan did not want to play football this fall. He said MSU was behind playing the whole time.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.