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Plan calling for Big Ten football starting in January gains steam

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Plans to play a truncated football season starting in early-to-mid January are gaining steam inside the Big Ten Conference.

After the conference canceled its fall sports seasons due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, it turned its focus onto how it could put together games in the spring semester. The conference is attempting to balance offering players an opportunity to play this academic year and the interests of upperclassmen who plan to enter the NFL draft.

The plan — first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — calls for the season to be done in time for players to participate in predraft workouts. 

The State Journal confirmed a Journal Sentinel report that University of Wisconsin players’ parents were told some details of the plan, and that Big Ten teams will likely use indoor facilities in Detroit, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis to avoid games being affected by weather.

UW athletic director Barry Alvarez told reporters that by playing a season in the spring semester, the conference won’t play a full season in the fall. Badgers coach Paul Chryst said whatever the spring-semester season looks like, it needs to be tied to the structure of the fall season.

How a shorter spring season will affect players’ eligibility has not yet been announced, and players’ parents were told that is still being decided.

Players, including Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, have pushed for the conference to reverse its decision to not play this fall, but the prospects of that happening appear to be nil.

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