MADISON, Wis. – With parents groups continuing to demand Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren further explain the reasons for shutting down the 2020 football season and eight Nebraska players filing a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn that decision, the league’s football coaches continue working on a revised schedule.
According to two college football people familiar with the Big Ten, those talks have generated a new option, starting a Big Ten season of at least eight games the week of Thanksgiving.
The Journal Sentinel reported earlier this month that league officials were working on a plan to play an eight-game season beginning in January, with the games to be played in indoor facilities.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford throws against the Michigan defense during the second quarter of the team's game in 2019 at Beaver Stadium. (Photo: Rich Barnes, USA TODAY Sports)
If teams would be unable to take the field later this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, league officials could still fall back on the January start.
The news comes one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for a rapid antigen test designed by Abbott Labs. The test is expected to cost $5 and the results should be available in just 15 minutes, without the sample being sent to a lab.
Abbott anticipates being able to produce 50 million of the BinaxNOW tests by October. In addition, Abbott is designing a free mobile app that will allow those who test negative to display a temporary, date-stamped health pass. That pass will be renewed each time a new test is administered.
"The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing," Dr. Joseph Petrosino, professor and chairman of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at the Baylor College of Medicine, said in a release. “With lab-based tests, you get excellent sensitivity but might have to wait days or longer to get the results. With a rapid antigen test, you get a result right away, getting infectious people off the streets and into quarantine so they don't spread the virus.”
BREAKING: Abbott launches $5 coronavirus test that yields results in 15 minutes, without needing any laboratory equipment. This will significantly speed testing efforts. 50 million tests a months, headed our way.
Big Ten officials, including Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, have noted the importance of being able to get rapid test results to be sure athletes and staff members are not infected.
“We thought that potentially could be an answer for us,” Alvarez said recently. “If we had a saliva test that we could get back within an hour.
“Heck, we could have our guys do their test, go in and have breakfast and they’d have an answer before they went to practice and we could have a clean practice field.”
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