Enjoy The Weekend, Then Get Ready For July

John Bohnenkamp

Take a breather this weekend.

It's July 4.

Relax. Enjoy the holiday. Take a deep breath.

Because when Monday gets here, it will start the clock on how the 2020 college football season will look, especially at Iowa.

We still don't know the plans for the football season, and there reportedly is increasing pessimism on if there will be a full season in the fall, or any season in the fall.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, and coronavirus cases are rising in many parts of the nation. That makes athletic directors and conference commissioners nervous, and makes college presidents extremely nervous.

USC is already talking about most, if not all, classes online for the fall semester. Many other schools, including Iowa, are still planning on classes on campus until Thanksgiving break, and then finishing the semester online.

Within college football programs that have returned for voluntary workouts, there have been positive coronavirus tests. Which weren't unexpected, but at some schools, like Houston and Kansas State, were enough to shut workouts down.

The NCAA has approved a practice plan with teams being back on campus July 13, with enough practice time for the season-opening Labor Day weekend. For now, that schedule is still intact.

We may also get a good idea on how many fans will be allowed to watch games, or if fans will be in the stadiums.

Iowa has already put a pause on ticket sales, with everyone ordering season tickets having to have orders in by June 30. The estimate is that approximately 40,000 tickets have been sold.

If fans are going to be in the stadiums, they likely will have to go through screening before entering. They may also have to wear masks — it's something that might not be optional. And there no doubt will be social-distancing requirements.

Whatever the decisions will be, just plan for disruption.

This might also be a crucial month for Iowa's program for another reason — the independent review into allegations by former players of racial disparities within the program is continuing.

Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said the review, which started in late June, would take "weeks, not months." Whether those results will be known by the end of the month is unclear, but it is clear that it is a story line that isn't going away any time soon.

July is usually a time for easing into the season, but this isn't going to be a normal July.

So take a deep breath. Relax. Enjoy the holiday.

And then see what the rest of the month brings.