Speculation brewing that Big Ten football could start in October

The reports come less than a month after all fall Big Ten sports were postponed.
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The Big Ten postponed all fall sports on Aug. 11, but there appears to be movement on that decision with longtime sports announcer Dan Patrick reporting Tuesday that conference officials are considering the idea of allowing football to be played beginning Oct. 10. 

“From source: If conference can pass updated safety measures and procedures, Big Ten targeting Oct. 10 to start football season," Patrick said. 

Oct. 10 was originally slated to be Week 6 of the 10-game conference schedule that league officials released just days before fall sports were postponed. The postponed sports include men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

"The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated," the Big Ten's Aug. 11 statement said. 

There was no talk of reconsidering the status of football. In fact, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said the unpredictable future of COVID-19 made it "abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

The news from Patrick comes on the heels of reports last week that indicated the Big Ten was considering a football start in November. Cleveland.com's Nathan Baird, who covers the Ohio State Buckeyes, speculated on that report

"I have read speculation that the Big Ten leaked the November possibility to try to win back some public relations goodwill. Some are even hoping the dates will keep creeping towards a more conventional fall start," Baird wrote. 

A more conventional fall start would certainly fall in line with what Patrick is reporting. 

This situation is certainly worth monitoring. What remains completely unclear is if football is the only Big Ten fall sport that could be allowed to resume earlier than the original postponement announcement indicated. 

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