By Adam Roberts – 9/16/2020
The calls to action by coaches, parents, players, and fans must’ve paid off.
Wednesday morning, the B1G Ten Conference announced what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and numerous other sources had reported the night before: B1G Ten football will return this fall.
President Kevin Warren, who has taken plenty of flack since the original August 11th announcement of the postponement of football until spring, admitted Wednesday that it has been an incredibly tricky process, but that he feels the conference is in a better position than it was at the time to handle playing football in the middle of a global pandemic.
The league plans to begin games the weekend of October 23rd, and between now and then will undergo a thorough process of preparing protocol for travel, in-stadium safety, and how student-athletes must conduct themselves on and off the field. Teams have been practicing in anticipation of some kind of season, which Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says will help speed things along and ensure that teams are ready to roll on the 23rd
“Even though we postponed the season, our athletes were still available to work out and put in time during the week” Alvarez said at the press conference announcing fall football Wednesday. “Their conditioning should be good, and they certainly should have time and preparation for this season.”
As it relates to fans in the stands, don’t expect a full house at Camp Randall, or even anything close to that. As the Wisconsin State Journal’s Colten Bartholomew tweeted Wednesday evening, only parents of players will be permitted in stadiums this season.
It will also be important to watch for how things change with COVID between now and October 23rd. As we’ve seen in the La Crosse area this week, football programs can change course in the blink of an eye, and already UW-Madison has this week had 42 players test positive for COVID-19.
For now, we wait until October 23rd. And of course, ESPN La Crosse 105.5 will continue to provide updates as they become available.