Mayors from Big Ten cities send letter to conference requesting additional safety measures

After more than six weeks of delays, college football will finally return to the Midwest this weekend as Big Ten football resumes.

Fans are certainly excited, but kickoff comes with a taste of hesitancy from many of the city's mayors where college football will be played this weekend.

Twelve mayors, including three from Michigan, signed a letter to the Big Ten requesting the conference take extra precautions ahead of football games that will bolster efforts to keep COVID-19 from further spreading within host communities.

Acknowledging the benefits that college football brings, from tourism, development, and driving up revenues for small businesses, the mayors also asked that any standards the teams used for monitoring coronavirus infections within the program be defined for the overall community population.

The logo for the Big 10 athletic conference

"Please include the communities where you will be holding games in your conversations and assign a metric to this that is similar to what has already been laid out for your teams," read the letter.

Typically preceding any football game or largescale event is alcohol consumption and large social activity. It's these trends that have mayors concerned that weeks after a college football game is played there would be surges in COVID-19 cases.  

The letter cited an Oct. 15 meeting between county and city health employees and members of the Big Ten that concerned guidelines ahead of the games. Public health officials recommended rules for football games include positivity rates for the entire community and not just for the team.

"We ask that you work with local and county health officials in these communities to define a population positivity rate, where hosting a football game that would bring increased activity into the community is no longer safe to do," continued the letter.


(Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Aaron Stephens of East Lansing, Andy Schor of Lansing, and Christopher Taylor of Ann Arbor all signed the letter.

While recognizing maintaining such a low transmission rate in the community may not be feasible, the mayors did request teams enact similar standards ahead of gameplay. 

Michigan is currently experiencing its second surge of new coronavirus cases, with the state documenting more than 2,000 new infections over the weekend. 

Meanwhile, other college football games in the southeast are being postponed due to outbreaks within programs.

Read the full letter below:

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