Cal Sports: Will 2020 College Football Season Be Canceled? Kirk Herbstreit Reportedly Would Be "Shocked" If Games Are Played

Jake Curtis

Cal has high hopes for the 2020 football season, with some even whispering that the Bears could have their first Rose Bowl season since 1958.

Bears linebacker Evan Weaver even mentioned the Rose Bowl following the Redbox Bowl win over Illinois, which gave the Bears an 8-5 record:

However, there are other whispers -- that are growing louder -- that there might not be a college football season in 2020. 

In fact, TV college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he would be "shocked" if NFL or college football is played next fall, according to a TMZ report.

That is the subject of a story by CBSSport.com, which suggests the novel coronavirus could force the cancellation of the NFL and college football seasons.

"I am not trying to be overly pessimistic, but I'm doubtful we're going to have a 2020 football season, NFL or college," Warren K. Zola, a respected expert on sports law and executive director of Boston College's Carroll School of Management, told CBSSports.com. "That's just me. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that we're all back over the summer."

Granted, it's too soon to say anything definitive about the fate of the 2020 college football season, and Cal's season opener is not until August 29 in Las Vegas. But the uncertainty of the situation makes you wonder. The Olympics were supposed to end just three weeks before the Golden Bears' season opener, and the Olympics were postponed for a year.

There have been 804 deaths so far in the United States, and apparently the infection rate is still increasing. If the situation is anything close to what it is now, would it make sense to have a stadium filled with 60,000 people.

Cal crowd
Photo by Darren Yamashita

Training camps would begin a few weeks before the opener. Could those go on as scheduled?

Football is by far the biggest money-maker for Division I athletic programs. How would they survive without that cash cow. CBSSports.com reported that college football brought in $6.5 billion in revenue during the 2018-19 academic year, according to Andy Schwarz of the California-based law firm OSKR. 

About 80 perent of the sports budget for FBS schools comes from football.

A number of college football coaches have been quoted saying they think the 2020 season could be affected. Some have even said they would be OK with an abbreviated schedule.

If the season is canceled, many logistical questions will have to be answered: Will football players in their final year of eligibility be granted an additional year of football? How would scholarship limits be affected since a crop of incoming freshmen will be signed? How would season ticket-holders be compensated? And there are many other issues that will arise that have not even been considered yet.

For Cal, there are concerns whether construction of Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium will be completed in time to host the Bears' opener against UNLV.

The stadium is still on track for a July 31 completions date, according to a March 15 report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which also noted that the coronavirus pandemic is not expected to cause any delays, according to Steve Hill, Las Vegas Stadium Authority chairman.

That is a relatively minor issue, though, since the Cal-UNLV game presumably could be played at Sam Boyd Stadium, the Rebels' home in 2019.

The bigger issue is college football in general. Canceling the NCAA basketball tournament and the College World Series are serious enough, but the prospect of canceling college football for a year rises to another level.

Justin Wilcox was excited about next year's Cal team following the Redbox Bowl win over Illinois. But will the Golden Bears get a chance to show it?

Comments (2)
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napabear
napabear

Not optimistic about 2020 football. US got way behind the curve of dealing with things. Even if death and infection rates are down by fall, until there's a vaccine, the whole large group thing will be off the menu. Even an accelerated vaccine schedule will almost certainly not fit the time frame. I was looking forward to this season. I think we had the potential for the best season in over a decade.

I'm sure the NCAA will give fall athletes an extra year of eligibility as they did in spring, but all the other issues will be complicated.


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