Report: Sooners Trying to Move Opener to Aug. 29

John. E. Hoover

According to a report in Friday’s Oklahoman, the University of Oklahoma has asked the NCAA to move its 2020 football season opener from Sept. 5 to Aug. 29.

Athletic director Joe Castiglione told The Oklahoman that moving the game would allow OU to have a week off after each of its first two games, which would allow fewer potential disruptions from positive COVID-19 tests.

The newspaper reported the school has petitioned the NCAA for a waiver that would accommodate the move.

Players who test positive will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days. Having an additional open date means fewer games missed.

The Big Ten announced Thursday it would not play non-conference games, and it was reported that the ACC and the Pac-12 were expected to follow suit soon. The Big 12 and the SEC are resisting making that decision as long as possible.

“We don’t know for sure if we’ll have fans at the game,” the paper quoted Castiglione. “We don’t even know if we’ll have the game itself. There’s no guarantee on anything.

“What we don’t know is the number of players we’d have to hold out through contact tracing alone. For example, if an offensive lineman tests positive, the entire offensive line could be isolated until test results come back negative. That could leave a team so short-handed a game might not be possible.”

Riley said last week on a video call with media that he believed it would be possible to play Missouri State on Sept. 5 as scheduled.

“Right now, I believe you can,” Riley said. “Those are ongoing conversations that we have had. I give Joe and our administration a lot of credit. They’ve been having ongoing conversations with Missouri State for a long time now. We certainly won’t if we don’t feel comfortable about it.

“But I think the plan we have set forth right now — again, we have to be ready to adjust. These things can chance at a moment’s notice. But I feel confident in the plan that we have going forward right now to be ready to kick it off against Missouri State.”

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