If you need yet another data point that the 2020 college football season possibly (probably?) won’t start as scheduled, here ya go.
At various points over the past couple of weeks, universities such as LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Texas would be going to online-only classes through the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. In some cases, that would mean the absolute earliest students would be able to come back on campus is early August.
As previously noted, the College Football Playoff Management Committee, which consists of the 10 FBS commissioners as well as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, participated in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, the point man for President Donald Trump‘s Coronavirus Task Force. According to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the group made one thing perfectly clear to Pence: no students on campus, no games.
“Our players are students. If we’re not in college, we’re not having contests,” Bowlsby told Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.
“Our message was, we need to get universities and colleges back open, that we were education-based programs, and we weren’t going to have sports until we had something closer to normal college going on.”
“It was a great opportunity to collectively share insights,” the no-fan-of-fan-less-games AD stated. “I want to be clear, I don’t think we offered any insights they didn’t already understand or appreciate, but a lot of the discussion was about the unique nature of college athletics being first and foremost the question we face is whether our universities will reopen and when. We’re never in a position to look at these issues purely through an athletic lens. There is no athletic calculus to engage in if our campuses aren’t reopened.”
Various coaches and administrators have stated that it’ll take anywhere from four to six to eight weeks to prepare for the upcoming college football season. Doing the math, and noting that Week 0 of the season is set for Aug. 29, on-field prep work could need to begin as soon as late June or early July.
As for a silver lining? We’re reminded by Ross Dellenger of SI.com that there is the possibility that college football players could return to practice before students return to campus. Obviously, such a development would speed up when the 2020 season could commence.
Of course, that still leaves the question of when the 2020 college football season will kick off very much up in the air. By the end of next month, though, there could be a bit more clarity.