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Big Ten Ends Conference-Wide Attendance Regulations

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The Big Ten Conference is handing attendance policies back to the universities.

The conference announced Wednesday that, effective immediately, all remaining 2020-21 Big Ten regular-season events will follow local health guidelines and restrictions.

“The decision to follow local health guidelines and restrictions was made jointly by the Big Ten Conference Directors of Athletics and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors in consultation with university medical experts and the conference office,” the release reads, noting that the Big Ten recently allowed a limited number of fans at its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. “The goal is to transition from a conference-wide approach to local decision-making in consultation with public health departments and university medical experts.

“Procedures for all remaining 2020-21 Big Ten championships, tournaments and regular season competitions will be designed to meet local and CDC guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19 as the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials, fans and campus communities remain our highest priority.”

After being prohibited from hosting fans for more than a year, the University of Nebraska is planning to immediately welcome fans back this spring. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said Wednesday on “Sports Nightly” that the school plans to host up to 2,700 fans at upcoming baseball games, 2,400 at volleyball matches and 675 at softball and soccer games. The football team is also looking into filling Memorial Stadium to 50 percent capacity — more than 40,000 fans — for the Red-White Spring Game on May 1. With volleyball being the lone indoor sport of the group, fans will not be allowed in the lower bowl of the Devaney Center in order to separate fans from the players and staff.

"Now instead of saying, 'Go Big Red,' I’m going to say, 'Come Big Red,' come back to our venues, because you can finally," Moos said Wednesday.

The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, reported that the state of Ohio currently allows for up to 30 percent capacity at outdoor events and 25 percent at indoor events.

“The Ohio State Department of Athletics will work internally and with Columbus Public Health to formalize appropriate attendance figures, mapping and social distancing within our athletics venues and facilities,” an Ohio State statement said, according to The Lantern. “Once we have determined the attendance in our venues, beyond the current protocols of only family members and student-athletes and coaches, we will share that information.”

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