College Athletic Directors Polled: 99% Predict There Will Be 2020 Season

Garrett Shearman

For a few weeks, there was serious discourse regarding abandoning the upcoming college football season.

In a recent poll, Stadium reached out to all 130 FBS athletic directors to gauge the optimism of any sort of college football season, full or truncated. Receiving 114 replies, the results were overwhelmingly positive:

A whopping 99% of athletic directors predict there will be some form of a 2020 football season. Only one anonymous Power Five AD doesn’t believe any college football games will be played for the rest of the year.

However, only 24% percent expect the season to start on time with the year’s opening kickoff games in late August. One-fifth of those who responded expect a season delayed until October or November and involving only conference play. Just over double that number expect the same delay but a full twelve-game schedule.

That amounts to 61% of FBS athletic directors expecting a season delayed until well after the first day of fall. An additional 14% predict college football won’t resume until January or February of 2021.

If we get a January or February kickoff, this would likely involve a few high-profile, draft-eligible prospects sitting out of the season to train for the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine. It would be a great hypothetical disappointment for fans and players alike, but as one Group of Five athletic directors told Stadium, “We have to do everything we can to get 12 games in.”

For a large portion of these schools with venues and fanbases smaller than those of historic powerhouses, a full season versus a shortened season is the difference between ending the upcoming fiscal year in the black or in the red.

Another anonymous AD told Stadium:

“There’s too much money at stake, it impacts too many people...if there’s no football, we will have bigger issues. This will be worse than the Great Depression and make the 1930s look like a cakewalk.”

Seasonal concession employees, ushers, security, etc. wouldn’t have work. Local bars and restaurants that stay afloat through an influx of business on fall Saturdays would downsize their employee count or close down. Small college towns with economies built around a single institution would suffer.

For this reason, another AD pointed out how the larger schools get hit:

“That’s a lot of revenue for anyone to give up, especially if you play in a 100,000-seat stadium and 80 percent of your revenue is tied to football. I’m not sure how Power Five schools afford losing three or four non-conference games. It would be a major impact for the Group of Five schools too.”

One Power-5 athletic director told SI.com's, Ross Dellenger that if there's no football, "We are all effed. There's no other way to look at this, is there?" 

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