UPDATE 1-Big Ten to start its college football season next month
* Big Ten reverses course
* President Trump celebrates decision (Adds detail)
WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The Big Ten Conference on Wednesday said it would launch its college football season the weekend of Oct. 23-24 after adopting "significant medical protocols" amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly pressured the conference to play this fall, congratulated the move in a separate post on Twitter.
"Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK," tweeted Trump. "All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!"
The decision to play is a dramatic change of course for the Big Ten after it postponed the season over health and safety concerns for athletes, with the United States in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 195,000 American lives.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) said in a statement it had adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions that would allow practices and games to proceed. The COP/C voted unanimously to resume the football season. "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 of Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee. (Reporting by Susan Heavey, Editing by Franklin Paul and Steve Orlofsky)
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