The Big Ten Conference added a new layer Friday to its restrictions on member athletic programs amid concerns of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In a statement released just after 10 a.m., the conference announced that all “organized team activities” are suspended until April 6. The decision will be re-evaluated at that point. This announcement comes after Thursday’s decision to completely end all competition this school year for Big Ten schools.
"The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the conference's statement. "The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus."
An exact definition of “organized team activities” wasn’t spelled out in the conference’s statement, but the Badgers’ football spring practices slated to begin on Sunday, March 22 will be pushed back until after April 6. A UW spokesperson told the Wisconsin State Journal that team weight lifting falls under the conference’s ban.
Per the spokesperson, all student-athlete facilities — including locker rooms, weight rooms, dining hall and nutrition centers — will close Friday until at least the scheduled end of UW's spring break. If those facilities are open after that point is to be determined. However, student-athletes will have access to all sports medicine facilities and staff, the spokesman said.
UW students begin their spring break Friday afternoon, and will return to online-only classes until at least April 10.
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