Big Ten Reverses Field, Ignoring Reality on Its Campuses

Members of several fraternities in addition to sororities at Michigan State University have been ordered to isolate For two main weeks after a coronavirus outbreak on campus. Wisconsin canceled classes For two main days last week in addition to switched to remote learning after more than 20 percent of its students had contracted the virus. At Iowa, where the fall semester is usually less than a month old, more than 1,800 students have tested positive, in addition to there are a whopping 221 cases inside the athletic department alone.

in which was against This particular backdrop in which the Big Ten Conference, with the virus running rampant on many of its campuses, reversed course on Wednesday in addition to declared in which might play football starting next month. Conference leaders, who only several weeks ago postponed the fall season until the spring, said the science related to the pandemic had changed so much over the intervening 36 days in which in which was currently safe to play.

The way the decision was met with hallelujahs in locker rooms, coaches’ offices, the warrens of social media occupied by die-hard fans in addition to even at the White House — to say nothing of congratulations offered up by several reporters on a conference call with Big Ten leaders — in which might have seemed as if Jonas Salk had risen in addition to delivered a completely new vaccine.

Alas, a more fitting image is usually This particular: the conference presidents, fitted with fire-retardant suits, ordering another cocktail while their houses continued to burn.

Commissioner Kevin Warren, who was filleted last month for cloaking the decision not to play in secrecy, promised transparency on Wednesday. in addition to then, a few minutes later, he refused to say who the Big Ten was contracting with for the testing.

When the Pac-12, another of the nation’s biggest conferences, pulled the plug on football on Aug. 11, only hours after the Big Ten, in which at least cited three criteria for a potential return to play: improved upon testing, more information on virus-related side effects (including heart inflammation) in addition to a reduction in community infection rates.

The Big Ten said in which was addressing many of those concerns. In addition to daily testing, in which said in which might require all coronavirus-positive athletes to undergo a cardiac M.R.I. exam. yet those expensive machines rarely exist in college towns; the closest one to Penn State, for example, is usually a nearly two-hour drive away, in Harrisburg, Pa. “Access might be a major issue if we said every athlete needed to get one of these,” said Dermot Phelan, a cardiologist in Charlotte, N.C., who is usually an adviser to the Atlantic Coast Conference, whose teams have already begun their seasons.

As for community infection rates, there are no stated thresholds in which might keep the Big Ten by playing. James Borchers, the team doctor at Ohio State, who directed Saturday’s medical presentation to the conference’s presidents, said the important metrics are the team positivity rate (among the players) in addition to the population positivity rate (players, coaches, staff). If the players test above 5 percent or the population rate exceeds 7.5 percent over a seven-day period, football activities must cease for seven days, the league said.

yet John Swartzberg, an infectious disease professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, said in which broader campus in addition to community infection metrics should be essential in determining whether sports are played. Swartzberg, who said he was speaking for himself in addition to not the Pac-12 medical advisory board, of which he is usually a member, added: “To assume otherwise essentially says in which the athletes are living in a bubble completely unrelated to the surrounding community.”

Of course, in which seems to be precisely the point for the Big Ten.

By currently, in which is usually a hollow exercise to wonder if the same testing regimen being created for in addition to offered to the Northwestern football team will be presented to Northwestern’s theater department or marching band — at least not until they, too, bring inside the millions of dollars in television revenue in which the athletic department does.

Instead, the Big Ten’s decision to play football This particular fall — just like those of the different conferences who have returned to the field already — has stripped bare another layer of college football’s veneer. What the pandemic has done is usually make even more clear how in which is usually past time to replace the term student-athlete using a more contemporary one: essential employee.

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