- ASSOCIATED PRESS - Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all.
Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the weekend of Oct. 23-24.
Each team will play eight games in eight weeks and the conference championship game will be held Dec. 19 - if all goes well. That should give the Big Ten an opportunity to compete for the national championship. The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.
The decision to play came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and even President Donald Trump, all of them pushing for a Big Ten football season. The conference is home to a number of battleground states in the November election, and Trump swifly applauded the move in a tweet.
The emergence of daily rapid-response COVID-19 testing, not available when university presidents and chancellors decided to pull the plug on the season, helped trigger a re-vote. The Big Ten said it will begin daily antigen testing of its athletes, coaches and staff on Sept. 30.
Team positivity rates and population positivity rate thresholds will be used to determine whether teams must halt practice or play. The earliest an athlete will be able to return to game competition would be 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
"Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities," said Dr. Jim Borchers, team physician for Ohio State.
The Big Ten will take a bow, but the conference has been battered for a month.
First-year Commissioner Kevin Warren was the main target, criticized for a lack of communication within the conference and not providing enough information to back the initial decision.
The Big Ten postponed Aug. 11, indicating it would try to make up the season in the spring. But there was no plan in place.
The Pac-12 followed the Big Ten in postponing, but was far more detailed in its explanation and also had more obvious hurdles to clear. Half the Pac-12 schools are still operating under statewide restrictions that make it impossible for teams to practice.
Meanwhile, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 bailed, the three other Power Five conferences forged ahead, along with three other major college football leagues. Games have started, with the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference kicking off last week. The Southeastern Conference is scheduled to start playing games Sept. 26.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten was on the sideline, with coaches struggling to explain to players why other teams could play but they could not.
"We're excited and we can't wait to get started," Michigan State linebacker Antjuan Simmons said.
In Nebraska, eight players had filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten over its decision to postpone. Glen Snodgrass, father of one of the players, Garrett Snodgrass, was teaching a class at York (Nebraska) High School when he received word of the reversal.
"This is what a lot of people have been fighting pretty hard for," he said. "I can't say enough about those eight boys and what they had the courage to do. They worked their entire lives to get where they are, and they just wanted to play."
Nebraska was at the forefront in opposing the Big Ten's original decision. The university had put out a joint statement from the school president, athletic director and coach Scott Frost expressing disappointment. Frost had also suggested Nebraska might look outside the Big Ten to play games.
WASHINGTON - Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for "fair treatment" in the way the tech giants run their app stores.
MERRILL - Grampa's Farm in Merrill like a lot of businesses have had to adapt because of COVID.
"We've expanded our hours and we've expanded our play areas to include more things and outdoor space," said Jered Severt, operator at Grampa's Farm.
But change is something that Severt and his family are used to.
"The dairy industry just wasn't working out for the smaller farmer," Severt said.
Severt and his family have had their barn for over 100 years.
"When I was born I came back to this farm," Severt said. "When my father was born he came back to this farm. My grandfather and his father and the previous father have all worked the soil here and have been a part of Grampa's Farm."
And without all the help from his family and friends, he knows none of this would be possible.
"It still continues to be family run but friends and neighbors," Severt said. "A lot of people working together to make this happen for a lot of other people."
For more information on Grampa's Farm check out their website.
- Park Falls Police Department is investigating two incidents when a man approached middle school boys earlier this month. It's an incident that the City of Park Falls Chief Jerome Ernst says he has not experienced in the last 30 years.
"This type of report is very rare for us, but you see these types of things happen. You now all over the place, Park Falls is not exempt.," Ernst said.
Ernst says back on September 8th, a middle school cross country runner was approached by a man after his practice near Chequamegon High School in Park Falls. The man told the boy that he was from 'Up North', and was asking for help to find the hospital. The second incident occurred on September 16th, when a man matching a similar description was seen on Saunders Avenue in Park Falls near Hines Park. When he approached two boys who were also in Middle School.
"The person only stated 'Do you want to race', and the kid just kinda ignored him, because he is a stranger, and he wasn't comfortable about it," Ernst said. "The other child however, tells us that the person said, 'Do you want to race me to my house. If you win I'll give you some prize or treats', Something like that," Ernst said. Then last Friday a man matching a similar description was also seen in Wausau. According to a Facebook post and video posted online, he was accused of watching a group of girls. "The description of the individual, looks a little bit like the person in the video. Although it's hard to tell because the videos are a little bit shaded and dark. The vehicle is definitely not the same like it is in Park Falls," Ernst said. However, Park Falls and Wausau Police Department are partnering up to see if the incidents may be connected. Even if the cases are not connected, Ernst says it's a good reminder of stranger danger. "If you are going out to play or do things or walk over to the park, stay in groups with your trusted friends or family. Talk to them about stranger danger. Not to immediately trust, a new person or strange person," Ernst said.
MADISON - A federal judge said Wednesday that he won't rule before the election on a lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring college student IDs to have an expiration date in order for them to be used as a voter's ID.
MADISON - The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday appealed a federal court ruling that allows for absentee ballots to be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election in the battleground state.
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