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Iowa Hawkeyes react to return of Big Ten football

Student-athletes will have to wait at least 21 days before returning to "game competition" after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, according to the Big Ten.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa Hawkeye football is back.

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that its Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to have the football season start the weekend of Oct. 23-24. It will be an eight-game season for each team.  

If a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19 during daily testing, they'll have to take a PCR test to confirm the result. Daily testing will begin by Sept. 30.

"I think we can do these things in a responsible manner and I think we can talk about fans going to the game," Gov. Kim Reynolds said during a press conference Wednesday. "And if it's half capacity and we think about how we do it and I think eventually that can be done."

According to the Big Ten's announcement, athletes will have to wait at least 21 days before returning to "game competition" after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. 

The conference said it will be announcing updates shortly regarding other fall sports, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall.

“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, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee. 

Below is a roundup of reactions to the news from Iowa Hawkeye football staff and players.

Statement from athletics director Gary Barta:

“The seriousness of the pandemic is still very real, but I’m pleased for our student-athletes, coaches, and fans that we’ve been able to create a path forward. The medical professionals at every Big Ten institution have worked tirelessly to create strong protocols that can be consistently applied to every campus. The frequency, availability, and reliability of daily testing was a game changer. This announcement has been much anticipated as it relates to football, but the path forward approved by our Presidents and Chancellors was important for all sports.  I’m thankful for the time President Harreld, and every Big Ten campus leader, dedicated to this resolution.”

Statement from head football coach Kirk Ferentz:

“This is welcome news for all of our players, coaches and fans. Our focus is now to train and prepare to compete on October 23-24, recognizing the health and safety of our players is our number one priority. I am proud of the attitude and work ethic our players have displayed over the past several weeks of uncertainty. The players are very excited to play and the coaches are excited to coach them. Go Hawks!”

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