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Big Ten Football Return: Here's What We Know

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- The Big Ten has been in the news plenty this week as the rumors and reporting continue to swirl around whether the league will play football this fall. The report that kicked it all off came from radio host Dan Patrick on Tuesday, who said that the conference is targeting an October 10 start date provided it can agree on some new safety measures.

That report came the same day that President Donald Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and had a "productive" conversation about the return of football this fall. But, the first part of that Dan Patrick report is key. "If conference can pass updated safety measures and procedures."

Yahoo's Pete Thamel reported later that day that the idea that a return to football in the fall was, as the President said 'on the one yard line' was laughed at by several of his sources. From Yahoo Sports:

"To say multiple sources denied the notion of the Big Ten playing immediately would not be strong enough. The sources heartily laughed at it. The notion of playing around Thanksgiving is in embryonic discussion, and there's a desire among coaches to start as early as possible. But "immediately" is in another universe, especially with multiple Big Ten teams not even having players on campus right now."

ESPN joined in with reporting of their own on Tuesday, saying that while commissioner Warren had spoken to the president, there was still plenty to be accomplished before football could return.

"Nothing has changed," a Big Ten source told ESPN. "Nothing. We have to get all the medical questions answered before we can even bring back a plan to the presidents for approval."

One of the big questions that the conference was hoping to have answered through the call with the president, according to Thamel, was whether they could access some of the 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests that the administration said it would be deploying. But, even in the event that the conference could access that testing, there are still questions to be answered medically for the conference to proceed.

The coaches of the conference have been outspoken about wanting to play in the fall. Penn State's James Franklin pushed hard for the conference not to postpone the season.

But, they aren't the ones that make the decision. The school presidents hold that power and they voted 11-3 to postpone the season according to evidence the conference provided in response to a lawsuit from Nebraska players this week. In order to return, 60% of the league's presidents would have to vote in favor.

Where does that leave things? Well, prior to Tuesday, there was reporting that indicated the league was looking at a return by late November. That still appears to be the earliest likely scenario based on the hurdles that need to be overcome.

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