Football is back on the fall schedule at the University of Wisconsin but it doesn't appear that competition will resume so quickly for other fall sports.
Athletic director Barry Alvarez said Wednesday that he didn't see Badgers volleyball, soccer and cross country teams returning to a fall schedule this year.
Later Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council voted to move those sports seasons to the second semester because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college athletics.
"I think they'll stay that way," Alvarez said.
After more than a month of pulling from multiple directions following the postponement of the fall season, the Big Ten on Wednesday announced that football games will begin the weekend of Oct. 23-24.
Commissioner Kevin Warren said the Big Ten will start discussing the path forward for other fall sports on Thursday. In a statement, the conference said updates on seasons for winter sports basketball, hockey, swimming and diving and wrestling will come shortly.
"We felt from a logistical standpoint, from an operational standpoint, that we needed to button down football," Warren said. "Because, one, with the number of student-athletes there, we figured once we got that solved then being able to apply those same policies, procedures and protocols with the other sports will be straightforward."
Also Wednesday, the Division I Council approved a Nov. 25 start date for the men's and women's basketball seasons. That's a 15-day delay from the original schedule and allows teams to start playing the day before Thanksgiving.
After NCAA hockey conferences last week announced an indefinite hold for the start of the women's and men's seasons — typically scheduled for late September and early October, respectively — coaches and administrators said a resolution for Big Ten football questions was a large factor in their sport's plans.
All Badgers sports will follow the same protocols of daily rapid testing and cardiac monitoring that were established for football, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said.
When the Big Ten originally shut down all fall sports competition on Aug. 11 because of concerns over testing and cardiac health connected to the coronavirus, the prospect of a rescheduled spring season raised potential complications.
Coaches weren't sure they would have all of their players in school for the second semester. Some on the Badgers men's and women's soccer teams planned to graduate in December.
Still, UW volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield said Wednesday that he would have been surprised if the NCAA went away from a new plan to play this season between January and April.
The Big Ten had to get football into a fall schedule to compete for spots in the College Football Playoff and to space out the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Volleyball's championship is moving to the spring and time between seasons isn't as much of a concern in volleyball, Sheffield said.
"I think they'd be overthinking it, quite honestly, if they moved it" back to the fall, he said.
The volleyball season will run from Jan. 22 to April 10, with the NCAA tournament finishing April 23-25. The traditional field of 64 will be limited to 48 this season, with 32 conference champions earning automatic qualifiers and space for 16 at-large teams.
Men's and women's soccer will culminate May 13-17 after a season that can begin Feb. 3. The women's field was scaled back from 64 to 48 (31 automatic bids) and the men's field shrunk from 48 to 36 (24 automatic bids).
The cross country season can begin Jan. 30, and the championship with 255 runners per gender is scheduled for March 15.
There's still time
Sure, they can. Not sure if they will change their minds, but the only thing that would make them ineligible is if they signed with an agent or something like that.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) September 16, 2020
This is a terrible idea that's putting hundreds if not thousands of students, coaches, trainers, and assistants at risk. How can they justify it when cases are spiking in nearly every B1G college town?— Abbey Lee (@aqtbenz) September 16, 2020
Still work to do
That's my birthday, that first game. They need me in the stands because they've never lost when I've attended a game on my birthday. Take Ohio State, for instance. Opening Kickoff return game. Once have my field pass, I'll tell you what I think of the resumption of UW football.— chris van wagner (@CVWhoops) September 16, 2020
Put to the test
Glad our team gets a chance to compete. Medical details seem well thought out. I’d rather have them monitored daily than not playing, get COVID and don’t know it and have issues next year from an undiagnosed heart condition.— Susan Balsai (@sesbadger) September 16, 2020
Happy for the players and coaches who want to play. Very concerned that this is going to blow up. UW is quarantining dorms. Not sure how this will be any different.— Zach Kirchenwitz (@zkirchenwitz) September 16, 2020
Facing long odds
I hope all possibilities have been considered and precaution is on high alert. The odds of this to successfully run start to finish is long and players health and safety should be priority #1!— Bob Look (@BobLook) September 16, 2020
Follow their lead
It seems like the rest of the sports world is managing their way through things, it’s not perfect, but if HS and Pro’s are doing it, so can college football.— Jack Pine Express (@kwzanella) September 16, 2020
We have a long way to go before football is played in the B10. Only takes 5% of the 106 person roster to shut it down, thats a small number.— Jay Gugel (@Googs33) September 16, 2020
Accept no substitutes
bout time. Very excited especially having to watch other conferences play last week. Nothing like Big Ten Football!!— Dave Stoviak (@Stovie12) September 16, 2020
Room for debate
Just parents and coaches in the stands anyways so may as well enjoy the games in TV, etc. 😷— Mark Breyer (@MarkBreyer2) September 16, 2020
They caved under the pressure. I thought they made the right decision to postpone. Don't get me wrong I'm psyched to watch football I just thought the health concerns were valid.— Josh Huang (@tatts_n_scotch5) September 16, 2020
Was inevitable when other conferences started playing. Cannot cede any ground if you’re the big 10 brass.— Phillip Marquart (@pdmarquart) September 16, 2020
Pad them up or recruits will go south.— Sherman (@BestDamnBroker) September 16, 2020
Timing is everything
At least the students won't be late to games.— Kevin Gratz (@kevin_gratz) September 16, 2020
It appears so
I hope this bodes well for basketball.— Smewgal (@Smewgal) September 16, 2020
Back to the grind
I hope everyone stays safe and healthy— Nuclear Badger (@nuclearbdgr) September 16, 2020
Along for the ride
It kinda roller coaster’ish— chris c (@ccnice1) September 16, 2020