Last month, conference commissioners were adamant that fall sports could not return unless students were permitted to come back to campus in a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence last month. Now, however, they may be singing a different tune.

Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reached out to conference commissioners about the possibility of having a college football season if students were not allowed back on campus. Even if there’s an all-online format for the upcoming semester, some decision makers believe there could be a return to the field.

“Going to class in an online sense is satisfactory,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told McMurphy. “There’s room for that to happen. School has to be in session, student-athletes have to be going to class.”

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco had similar thoughts.

“What if, with virtual (online) classes, you could protect football players, staff and others, why couldn’t they play?” Aresco said. “That’s something that needs to be discussed. I would suspect our campuses would want to play, but it would be up to the presidents and chancellors. We may not get the entire (student bodies) back.”

It’s an interesting shift in the conversation, as many previously detailed a bleak outlook for college athletics if students could not return to campus. Though many school presidents have already stated that the plan is to host on-campus classes for the 2020 semester, there have been no guarantees to this point.

A handful of other conference commissioners weighed in on the potential of football returning without students on campus. You can read more from