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Penn State Football: Practices Still A Go, But Big Ten Pauses Full-Contact Plans

by on August 08, 2020 12:00 PM

The Big Ten is hitting the brakes on its previously announced practice plans and guidelines as programs across the league begin preseason activities.

The conference announced the decision on Saturday morning as Big Ten presidents reportedly met to discuss next steps.

"The Big Ten Conference announced today, based on the advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, that, until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football," The statement reads.

The decision reduces football practices to helmets-only, limiting the amount of contact allowed and preventing programs from entering the later stages of the early acclimation period that would allow for full pad and contact practices.

Penn State began practice on Friday and was still in the helmets-only phase of its preseason work. Saturday morning the Mid-American Conference announced the cancelation of its upcoming fall sports schedule, but the Big Ten offered no insight as to what — if anything — led to a change in thinking over the span of the last several days. 

"Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time," The league continued.  "In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.

"We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all. As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes."

Penn State is currently slated to open the season on Sept. 5 against Northwestern at Beaver Stadium. The athletic department announced earlier this week that due to state health and safety guidelines, fans would not be allowed inside the stadium.

However if fans were allowed inside Beaver Stadium, Penn State does have a plan.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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