NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision is nearing the start of its season, yet the COVID-19 pandemic may affect that timeline. With Colleges bound to their governing state, many institutions foresee difficulty getting all their athletes in time for the season, let alone complications with the season itself. SI writer Ross Dellenger delves into the trials and tribulations that College Football and the NCAA face as the start of the next season comes closer.
Read the full transcript below:
Kaitlin O'Toole: Ten commissioners of the College Sports Football Bowl subdivision are in daily deliberations about how to save the 2020 football season amidst the pandemic. Joining me now to discuss this is SI writer Ross Dellenger. Ross, it's been two months since the coronavirus shut down the sports world. There is so much that is still unknown at this time. Can you give us some insight, though, on where college football stands as of now?
Ross Dellenger: Yeah, we don't know a lot. You know, we don't know when the season's going to kick off. We don't know even when football practice will begin. But we're getting closer and closer to those decisions happening as we get into June. In fact, we're getting days away from a decision to potentially open up campuses to players in June, to go back, lift weights in a voluntary nature. Then after that decision, we'll have probably some kind of date to begin a six-week training camp of some sort in mid-July. So, the teams basically have to start in mid to late July, they have to start practicing because they're going to need six weeks has been determined until they kickoff. So we're in that space where, in the next five to seven weeks, a decision is going to have to be made on whether we can kick off on time or not. But in the meantime, we're going to have a decision here soon in the next few days on allowing players potentially to return to campus in June and then again after that, hopefully getting a date for some kind of training camp to begin in July.
Kaitlin O'Toole: So let's say if everyone doesn't start on time, what are those return-to-play plans and contingency plans they are working on putting in place?
Ross Dellenger: Yeah, you know, everybody's not going to start on time. Conference commissioners are pretty clear that the only one hundred and thirty FBS teams will not start on time because the virus has affected states differently, cities differently, schools differently. There will be varying states that reopen at different times and have varying different laws. So some players might not be able to return to campus in June. Some schools might not be able to start training camp in mid-July or play this season at all. That's the expectation. So as you get back to your question, you mentioned, you know what happens then? There is even talk that within a conference you could have two schools play each other twice a year. Maybe, you have a shortened season of some kind. Maybe you played just seven games or eight games or nine games.
Kaitlin O'Toole: Well, we're all hoping for a 2020 football season, but we'll have to wait to see how this plays out. Ross, thank you so much for your insight. Appreciate it.
Analysis from Brooks Austin of DawgsDaily: Bottom line—it's still a mess. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said it best: "We’re learning more and more every day and if you look back 30 days of what you knew then and 30 days to what you’ll know down the road ... if you can be patient in making major decisions, you’ll be able to gather more and more information to inform better decision making at a later time." The only problem is that time is running out.