Jim Harbaugh: “Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football”

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced today (Wednesday, Sept. 16) the return of the 2020 football season this fall. Games will begin starting the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

The eight-game schedule for the University of Michigan and all other Big Ten schools will be set in the near future and announced by the conference.

At this time, due to current state of Michigan public health limitations, the University of Michigan is unable to have fans at home athletic events. Safety regulations will continue to be evaluated by campus leadership in conjunction with medical experts and state/local government officials. We will communicate any changes as they are determined.

The Big Ten also announced an agreement for conference-wide rapid testing starting by Sept. 30. This will allow each school to test student-athletes and staff on a daily basis.

“Great news today,” said Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, in a statement released by U-M. “Over the past month, I could sense the anticipation from our players and coaches, and I’m thrilled on their behalf that they will have a chance to play a 2020 season. Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football.”

Statement from Mark Schlissel, U-M President

I want to share my support for the Big Ten decision to begin football competition next month.

I join Athletic Director Warde Manuel and everyone at Michigan Athletics in offering appreciation for all the athletes and coaches, the fans and the families who have been preparing for the possibility of playing in the Big House this fall.

Earlier I expressed my concern, shared by my fellow Big Ten presidents and chancellors, that we just didn’t know enough about the health and safety concerns unique to intercollegiate athletics to move forward with practices and competition.

As has been so true during this pandemic, we continue to learn more every day and we have adjusted our approach based on the new information that was developed. I especially want to thank the health and safety officials from the Big Ten campuses who have carefully assessed the risk and developed a stringent plan — that will include daily COVID-19 testing — to mitigate those risks for our student-athletes, coaches and others. While this approach will start with football, our hope is to use this same approach to resume competition in other sports.

To our millions of fans worldwide, I again thank you for your understanding and your patience. Your support of our teams and our student-athletes is inspiring.

Go Blue!

Statement from Warde Manuel, U-M Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics

I’m happy that President Schlissel and the Big Ten Conference presidents voted to allow members to move forward with a return to football. The health and safety of our student-athletes have always been primary in the discussion and the decisions. I want to thank Commissioner (Kevin) Warren, the medical professionals of the Big Ten, and my fellow athletic directors for all the work that has been done over the past few months to arrive at this point.

Coach Harbaugh and our student-athletes have been GREAT throughout this process. They have remained diligent in following the protocols and preparing to have this opportunity to play this season.

I also want to thank our coaches and staff, our student-athletes, their families and our fans for their collective patience. I look forward to watching our teams compete this fall and beyond.

For information on 2021 Michigan football season tickets and to sign up for the interest list, visit the football season tickets page on MGoBlue.com.

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