With 99 days until Oklahoma is scheduled to kick off of the 2020 college football season, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione is keeping his options open — and looking for new ones.
But, he made it clear Friday morning on his weekly appearance with voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland on KREF radio in Norman that more hard decisions would be coming soon.
“Short of any kind of (COVID-19) outbreak that changes the course, we’re going to start to move towards a time where we’re not just talking about voluntary workouts or organized workouts or modified camp practices,” Castiglione said on SportsTalk 1400 The Ref. “We’re going to have to make some decisions about the season itself.
“You can count down the number of days, but there’s going to be a point — I don’t think anybody’s agreed on the point yet — but there’s going to be a point where we have to make some decisions about the season itself: starting on time, whether we’re playing 12 games, whether we have to play a shortened season and adjust the season. Those are questions that have to be answered.”
The Sooners announced this week that student-athletes can return to campus for supervised voluntary workouts on July 1.
That isn’t in line with timetables at a lot of other places around the country. Some are re-opening June 1. The Big 12 Conference set a return date of June 15. But at OU, Castiglione echoed Lincoln Riley’s previous comments regarding patience and prudence.
“We try to figure out what it is we’re trying to accomplish and then figure out the best way to make that happen,” Castiglione said. “We wanted to figure out how many weeks we had with our student athletes and get them properly prepared. … Everything we said has been consistent, and we just stuck with our plan.
“We’re taking little more time to allow the continuation spread of the virus to subside somewhat. We know it’s not going to go away. … We just thought (being) a little more prudent, a little more patient, was in the best interest.”
Castiglione cautioned that, through efforts like electronic ticketing and digital ordering of concessions, fans who have become accustomed to doing things one way are going to have to learn how to do things another way.
“We’ve modeled a lot of options, including seating capacity and other things we’re doing,” he said. “People are gonna have to get use to doing things they may not like. It may be awkward, and it certainly may not be perfect. But I think if we all have a great attitude about it and work through it, it’ll be fine and we’ll be able to have football to enjoy this fall.”
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