Coronavirus has college football season, NCAA future up in air


The impact of the coronavirus pandemic could be felt in the fall. While the start of football season is still months away, there’s a good chance it will be impacted by the complete shutdown of sports we’re currently seeing.

“What a debacle that would be,” SI’s Pat Forde said, referring to the massive impact a cancelled football season would have on college athletic departments, which depend heavily on the football generated by football Saturdays.

Football programs around the country are looking at various possibilities for the season.

“An abbreviated season, a later start to the season, an earlier start to the season,” Forde listed, “various contingencies. There’s a lot of grey area.”

Clemson has put together an advisory committee on disaster-preparedness, with the disaster being the cancellation of the season.

““I don’t know that we’ve named it,” Clemsonathletic director Dan Radakovich told SI, “because I don’t have an acronym for doom.”

Another anonymous Power Five A.D. said, “We’re all effed. There’s no other way to look at this, is there?”

Many of the big questions will be out of the control of college athletic departments.

“First, they need the green light from health officials,” Forde points out. “Then, will campuses be open?”

In Sports Illustrated’s daily cover, close to two dozen college administrators weigh in on the future of the 2020 football season.

Forde is optimistic, to a point.

“I do expect there to be a season,” he said. “How long and when it starts are the two biggest unknowns. The odds of starting the week before labor day—there are seven games scheduled for August 29—doubtful. Without fans? Possibly.”