Less than a week ago, the Big Ten Conference released a 2020 conference-only football schedule. Though there were no guarantees it would be played amid the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like a positive step for college athletics.
Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Big Ten announced that the fall sports season would be no more. What caused the quick departure? According to commissioner Kevin Warren, it wasn't additional facts about COVID-19 and its impact, but rather the lack of them.
“There’s too much uncertainty," Warren said on Tuesday during an interview on the Big Ten Network. "We have a lot of uncertainty going on now.”
The coronavirus has been in the United States for several months now, but much is still unknown about its effects on the human body and society. While the Big Ten had been working diligently to provide its players and staff with testing and up-to-date protocols, not every possible outcome could be covered.
As Warren explained it, for each question that is answered in relation to COVID-19, a new one pops up. As the pandemic continues on, professionals continue to learn more about how it acts and what impact it can have both short and long term.
An example of that would be Myocarditis –– or the inflammation of the heart muscle -- which has been found in several college athletes and linked to the coronavirus. Not initially considered to be a factor of the virus, it's now become a major concern for the Big Ten and other conferences.
That's just one aspect of the unknown Warren and others are dealing with. Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, Warren also noted that the COVID-19 questions go beyond the field. It's a problem the entire world is dealing with.
“It’s not only in the Big Ten. I think just across the country and in the world there is so much uncertainty about this virus," Warren said.
In the end, while Warren feels the conference has done a solid job of protecting players during workouts in the summer, there was still too much to be learned before he and others could feel comfortable resuming collegiate sports.
Now, with hopes to resume in the spring, Warren and other Big Ten officials will head out in search of the answers that will eliminate the unknown of the virus. Just like how society strives to return to normal, continuing to learn will be the only way to make it possible.
“We’ll gather information, prepare, plan and create an environment that our students-athletes will be able to participate in when it’s safe and there’s less uncertainty," Warren said.
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