Will Oklahoma State Football Start Fall Camp on Wednesday? There is Still a Chance

Robert Allen

STILLWATER -- We saw it yesterday in Norman, Okla. and in Lawrence, Kan., players and coaches masked up but wearing helmets, jerseys, and shorts. The coaches in practice coaching garb and real football practice going on. That scene is set to happen in Stillwater on Wednesday (Aug. 5) of this coming week. Oklahoma State has always been scheduled to start fall camp that day with the opener on Thursday, Sept. 3. Okay, the Oregon State game is off because of the Pac-12 going to a conference only 10-game schedule, but we believe the Cowboys are set to roll out a replacement game as soon as the Big 12 Board of Directors meet on Monday to finalize the plan for the 2020 football season. 

Pokes Report believes they have BYU, which has lost six games off their schedule including a Thursday opener due to Power Five conference schedule changes. We believe BYU would visit Boone Pickens Stadium on Sept. 3 and in a future season Oregon State will pay back that game by playing at BYU.

Now, the Big 12 head coaches met with conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Thursday. That explains how Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy knew that the Big 12 Football Media Days was cancelled a good two hours before that news was released. The coaches on Thursday and then the athletic directors meeting on Friday discussed the conference plan. The Athletic had an excellent article, the best I've seen on the situation. We have had a story everyday and have used information from a lot of sources, but Max Olson of The Athletic apparently spoke to Bowlsby on Friday after he had met with his athletic directors. 

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The Big 12 may be the last to decide among the Power Five, but Bob Bowlsby has been consistent.USA TODAY Sports Images - Jay Biggerstaff

“The more flexibility you have, the better off you are in terms of being able to make up games,” Bowlsby told The Athletic on Friday night. “I go into it with the assumption that we’re going to have some disruptions. And we’ll have some schedules we have to rearrange and that there’ll be some games to make up. If that’s the case, the more time you have, the better you can deal with those things.”

This coincides with much of what Bowlsby told Pokes Report in an interview last week. He expects disruptions, but also believes that some disruptions can be effectively dealt with.

"It doesn't upset any apple cart that I know of, although things could change and our scientists could come to us and tell us, 'you guys have two wheels off the track and a bad wreck is coming.' You know we're going to listen to those kinds of things," Bowlsby told us. "So far we are being told that is not the case and that we are not risking student-athlete's health. You know you hear a lot about people (teams) that have five positive tests or 15 positive tests, but on a football team you will also have 120 players that are not testing positive, that are doing the right things, and moving forward. As long as we can we are going to keep doing that and as you said there is not a down side to that."

The Big 12 Board of Directors meet Monday and are expected to now release a plan of starting and working through the season by Monday afternoon. According to The Athletic and this is in full agreement with what Pokes Report gleened from conversations with administration in Oklahoma State University athletics, of the five plans on the table there are three that are being favored. The full 12-game plan starting on zero week, Aug. 29; the 11-game game plan with the nine Big 12 games and two non conference, still starting on Aug. 29; and the 10-game plan with one non conference game. That last plan would likely have a Sept. 5 or Sept. 12 start.

The desire is to give the season plenty of room for possible disruption. The Big 12 Championship Game has already been set to float to either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 from the originally planned Dec. 5. Our conversations with Oklahoma State revealed some staff members favoring the full 12-game schedule. Head coach Mike Gundy seems to be in favor of that as well. A few we spoke to liked the 11-game plan. Athletic director Mike Holder has been consistent believing that the 12-game model is the best.

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Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder has always favored 12-games this footballs season.Pat Kinnison - Pokes Report chief photographer

Bowlsby told us that the Big 12 television partners of ESPN and Fox were both in the loop and the desire is there to deliver the 57 plus games that the contract has set for inventory in the season. A bonus would be playing those zero week games and getting at least a full week (Saturday and Thursday) games in prior to any other conference beginning.

Besides Oklahoma (vs. Missouri State) and Kansas (Southern Illinois), TCU is set to play at UNLV on Aug. 29 and then there is the Oklahoma State-BYU game on Thursday. 

Television and money will not be the guiding force in the decision on Monday from the Big 12 Board of Directors, but it will be the Big 12 medical staff and medical advisors.

“Nobody else has standing in this discussion other than the people who are advising us on the health of our staff, student-athletes, coaches and others,” Bowlsby said to The Athletic. “We’re making decisions based upon what we’re being told by medical professionals."

There is another hurdle that college football will have to get over. It is one that can't stop FBS football from happening, but one that can sure make the optics of playing change. The NCAA Board of Governors will meet again on Tuesday, Aug. 4 and will vote on fall championships in the NCAA. If they vote to postpone or cancel those then it would leave FBS college football as the only collegiate sport with plans to compete in the fall. FBS football would be the last man standing in college sports.  

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