Chancellor Blank statement on Big Ten return to competition
University of Wisconsin–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank released the following statement following the Big Ten’s announcement that it would return to competition beginning Oct. 23-24.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and coaching staff has always been my biggest concern when thinking about playing a Big Ten Football season this year. These concerns led the Big Ten Council of Chancellors and Presidents (COP/C) to postpone the season in August.
Since that time, many people have worked hard to answer the questions and concerns that resulted in postponement. My fellow presidents and chancellors have had extensive conversations with doctors and medical advisors and believe that a testing plan that relies on daily, rapid testing of all student-athletes and coaching staff is now feasible and affordable.
Medical advisors to the Big Ten have produced clear protocols for testing, isolation, and return to play. They also have a protocol to check any athletes who become ill for heart-related problems. With these protocols, the health concerns that I had in August have been allayed. The Big Ten has also agreed to pay for the testing, which will be done in a uniform manner in all schools.
Above all, I support our coaches and student-athletes and want them to have the opportunity to safely compete, if possible. I believe the plan put forward by the Return to Competition Committee, with its extensive safety protocols and tight controls, allows that to happen.
I’m particularly grateful to Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who led the Return to Competition Committee, which developed a viable schedule.
While football will probably begin competition before other sports, these protocols will cover all sports. Updates regarding fall sports other than football, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall, will be announced by the Big Ten soon.
There are still many details to be worked out, but I will be happy to see the Badgers return to competition in 2020.”