In a letter sent late Thursday to Big Ten athletic departments that was co-signed by League Commissioner Kevin Warren and Big Ten Task Force For Emerging Infectious Diseases Chair Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the conference announced they are still determining if and when fall camp can begin for football teams. This comes in the wake of earlier pauses in workouts by Maryland and Ohio State football during summer workouts, and during ongoing quarantines by Michigan State and Rutgers teams. In addition, four teams at Michigan have also paused workouts due to COVID-19 testing and those teams are swimming and diving, field hockey, ice hockey, and volleyball.
A decision on the start of fall camp will be made within the next week. While you can read the letter in full yourself above, the following statement was made regarding the start of fall camp:
We will not, and cannot, proceed with preseason camp until we are certain that we can do so safely and that will depend, in part, on testing. Once we have everything in place to execute our testing protocols effectively, including the appropriate number of tests secured for all fall sports, we can make a decision as to whether preseason camp will begin as currently scheduled. We anticipate making that decision within the next 5 days.
Further announcements include that a conference only fall schedule will be created and released at some point in August. The conference will also aim to begin competition in September, but will delay it if it is so needed. However, all of that depends on them having the ability to safely proceed. The letter also explicitly made clear that no sports will occur if they are not able to ensure things can proceed safely.
In other news, the annual, though unofficial, Cleveland.com Big Ten preseason poll results were released today. To everyone’s surprise I am sure, the Ohio State Buckeyes were the almost unanimous pick to win the Big Ten. The Buckeyes received 33 of 34 first-place votes to win both the East Division and the conference. Penn State received one vote for the East Division title and for the conference title. Also not a surprise to anyone I am sure, the West division was far more competitive.
As for players, also not surprising is reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for 2019 Justin Fields received 33 votes to repeat, while Rashod Bateman of Minnesota received the other vote. Defensively, Penn State’s Micah Parsons was the unanimous pick by the media.
As for our Michigan State Spartans, they were picked to finish in fifth in the East, receiving 94 points in polling. Antjuan Simmons finished tenth in polling for defensive player of the year.
BIG TEN EAST
- Ohio State 237 points (33 first-place votes)
- Penn State 204 points (1)
- Michigan 169 points
- Indiana 134 points
- Michigan State 94 points
- Maryland 76 points
- Rutgers 38 points
BIG TEN WEST
- Wisconsin 221 points (19)
- Minnesota 209.5 (14)
- Iowa 157 points
- Nebraska 117 points
- Purdue 105 points
- Northwestern 87.5 points (1)
- Illinois 55 points
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Justin Fields, Ohio State QB, 101 points (33 first-place votes)
- Rondale Moore, Purdue WR, 38 points
- Rashod Bateman, Minnesota WR, 33 points (1)
- Tanner Morgan, Minnesota QB, 16 points
- Journey Brown, Penn State RB, 4 points
- Pat Freiermuth, Penn State TE, 4 points
- Wyatt Davis, Ohio State OG, 2 points
- David Bell, Purdue WR, 1 point
- Alaric Jackson, Iowa OT, 1 point
- Josh Myers, Ohio State C, 1 point
- Chris Olave, Ohio State WR, 1 point
- Michael Penix Jr., Indiana QB, 1 point
- Trey Sermon, Ohio State RB, 1 point
PRESEASON BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Micah Parsons, Penn State LB, 102 points (34 first-place votes)
- Shaun Wade, Ohio State CB, 33 points
- George Karlaftis, Purdue DE, 20 points
- Paddy Fisher, Northwestern LB, 17 points
- Kwity Paye, Michigan DL, 11 points
- Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan DL, 6 points
- Zach Harrison, Ohio State DE, 3 points
- Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin LB, 2 points
- Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State LB, 2 points