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Could Ohio State, College Football Start Early?

The Buckeyes and the rest of the NCAA were granted a waiver to begin the season August 29 if they choose to do so.

As the debate regarding health and safety of student-athletes (and frankly the viability of having a season) seems to get more heated by the day, decision-makers are running out of time to issue a ruling on a 2020 college football season. Nearly every FBS program is now in phase two of the summer workout plan that allows for up to 20 hours per week of walk-throughs, weight training and team meetings/film study.

Most of the talk has been around delaying or postponing a season. But is that the only option?

Oklahoma became the first Power 5 school in the country to officially announce they are opening the season a week earlier than their original schedule. They are going to host Missouri State on "week 0", which is Saturday August 29.

Missouri State is an FCS program that plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, which issued the following statement on Monday.

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The Missouri Valley Football Conference Presidents Council has determined patience is warranted regarding any decision to modify the 2020 Fall season, seeing merit in delaying as long as there remains a possibility to provide a safe competitive opportunity for MVFC student-athletes. 

The MVFC and its Presidents Council will continue to monitor national developments and, if necessary, will consider additional action as dictated by circumstances.

On Tuesday, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports obtained an email that the NCAA sent out to all schools, issuing a "blanket waiver" which would allow any school to play a regular season game on August 29.

Whether or not schools take the NCAA up on the offer to play games earlier than their original schedules stipulated remains to be seen. But if it offers schools and conferences additional flexibility in piecing together a 2020 slate, perhaps it provides some additional hope that football will happen this fall.

The Buckeyes were scheduled to open the season on September 5 against Bowling Green, the first of three non-conference games that were cancelled when the league announced they were only playing conference games this fall. Ohio State is set to open training camp on August 7, one week from Friday. The Big Ten has not yet released a new football schedule.

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