After winter and spring sports were canceled in March, commissioners and athletic directors are across America are currently working to salvage the 2020-21 sports calendar amid the COVID-19 crisis. And those working on bringing back college athletics are facing no shortage of hurdles.
Commissioners and ADs have weighed the possibility of hosting athletes on campus in the fall, even if classes for most students are held online. The move would lessen the risk of contracting COVID-19, but with over 5,000-plus FBS football players, a positive COVID-19 test is almost guarantee. If a positive test occurs during the season, that would be a "nightmare," per Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
"I think that's the nightmare. That's the worst case," Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger. "We've got to do all we can to avoid that scenario. Statistically, if you have 20,000 students on campus, chances are pretty good that some are coming back with the virus. We'll be testing like crazy."
Swarbrick didn't indicate the NCAA will shut down sports with a positive test. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby held a similar view, noting the NCAA will have to "co-exist with [coronavirus] and mitigate the severity with a vaccine."
The 2020 college football season is currently slated to continue as scheduled. A potential delay to the season will have to be made, "over the next five to seven weeks," per Forde and Dellenger.