Swofford: Football Season Scenarios Being Discussed

Brett Friedlander

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Friday that he maintains weekly contact with conference athletic directors and presidents, and that the groups are actively discussing possible scenarios for the 2020 football season is the coronavirus crisis lingers into the fall.

Speaking to the ACC Network's Mark Packer in an interview on SiriusXM radio, Swofford said that the goal is to play the season as scheduled, but that all other options are on the table depending on the rapidly changing situation.

“We've got a lot of new issues to deal with and address and not a definitive path that's in front of us, but each month hopefully we'll know more and more," Swofford said. "We're doing an awful lot of scenario planning where you have to, in essence, look at the worst-case scenario as well as the best-case scenario and several scenarios in between -- not only for football, which is critical to the whole business model of college athletics, but the fall sports as well.”

Swofford said that “everything is on the table,” but that ultimately the decision on when and how to play the 2020 season is played will be dependent on external factors such as governors lifting stay-at-home orders and the re-opening of college campuses. 

Among the possible options are games played with no crowds, a shortened schedule and a delayed season that carries over or is held entirely in 2021. To this point, there have not been any discussions about canceling the season entirely.

“You hope for normalcy," Swofford said. "But if it's not, what if you had to delay it to October? What if you had to delay it to November? Would you take it into the spring semester? All of those kinds of scenarios come into play with the sport of football is as well as the other fall sports.” 

Even though time isn't currently an issue, a decision on how to proceed can't wait much longer.

NC State coach Dave Doeren, in a Zoom conference with local media earlier this month, said that it would take a minimum of four weeks to prepare a team for the start of a season, but added that "obviously, six would be better."

No matter what direction the ACC decides to go, Swofford said that the safety of the players will be the most important consideration.

“We fully realize that college athletics (are) an important part of our culture, but there's so many aspects of this that are so much bigger than what we're dealing with,” Swofford said. “Ultimately we're not the decision-makers on if and when we play. We'll have our role in it, but you've got the virus, science, medical people, presidents of universities and their boards. Governors are making different decisions in each state and we have 10 states in the ACC, so it's a pretty complicated look at it right now.”

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