Even though the B1G extended the suspension of organized team activities, it's still not time to panic about the CFB season
The B1G’s announcement on Monday morning is one we all saw coming. The conference really had no other option but to extend the suspension on all team activities due to coronavirus pandemic.
Monday, the B1G made the decision to extend its suspension on organized team activities until June 1, releasing a statement on the situation. At that time, the league will re-evaluate the situation once again.
“This is an additional measure to the previously announced cancellation of all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year,” The B1G said in a statement. “The Conference also has previously announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.”
Yes, it means we’ll have to go another month without really knowing the status of college football and other fall sports for 2020. That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. Not yet.
Call me naive, but I’m still optimistic about having a college football season this fall. Monday’s announcement from the B1G really doesn’t change my attitude, either. It was going to take a miracle for the league to decide to lift the suspension, so the fact that this moratorium is pushed back to June 1 shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
States are just starting to slowly re-open, colleges and universities are remaining closed for students and public gathering sizes remain limited, based on social distancing guidelines. It wouldn’t make sense for the NCAA or any of its member conferences to disobey recommendations from health and government officials to allow student-athletes, coaches and staff members to kick-start practices at this time.
But there’s still plenty of reason for hope.
Many states across the country have released plans to slowly re-open, a step ahead of where we were one month ago. While the timelines vary depending on state, the idea of getting some sense of normalcy back by the mid-summer months is a positive sign. Indiana — for example — is hoping to have everything up and running (with social distancing still in place) by July 4 following a gradual re-opening.
That timeline would likely permit campuses to open their doors prior to the suggested six-week practice period that has been recommended before student-athletes can participate in a football game. Perhaps the plan is a little ambitious, but it’s also not unrealistic.
Gov. Holcomb released a new five-step plan today to reopen Indiana’s economy.
Here’s a breakdown of each stage: pic.twitter.com/oGZMdos4IR
— Carson TerBush (@_carsonology) May 2, 2020
Looking for more optimism? How about the fact that a handful of B1G schools are still planning to have on-campus classes this fall. Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa have all jumped on board, saying their preparing to allow students back come August, the starting domino that needs to fall before college athletics can return.
Several other universities and colleges across the country have also confirmed that their goal is to host students for on-campus classes in the fall.
Then there was the comment from University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, saying that the current plan is to have student-athletes back practicing again by June 1 — a date that could be slightly delayed due to the B1G’s recent announcement.
“We’re ever so hopeful that this virus will be behind us at that point and we’ll be able to get back into what we normally do,” Harreld said. “If we got to the worst of the worst, would we let the players play with no fans? I don’t know,” Harreld said. “Because if we’re at that stage with this virus, we’d have to do a lot of testing of the individual players, and I’m not going to go ‘yes or no’ on that. I’m going to refer to the experts. But right now, June 1 is the date we’re going to get back to practice.”
Again, maybe the June 1 date is a tad ambitious, but it’s evidence that college presidents aren’t prepared to wave the white flag on the college football or other fall sports seasons just yet.
The PGA Tour, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and other sports leagues are also beginning to look at potential returns at some point this summer, as well. If those are successful, it would create significant momentum for college athletics to resume.
Obviously, the decision makers in college athletics — as well as in state and federal governments — are continuing to work on contingency plans. The coronavirus pandemic is something that affects far more than just the NCAA, its conferences, schools, coaches and athletes. The most notable contributions in a return to normalcy will come from health and government experts.
When it comes to the B1G’s announcement on Monday, though, I’m no less optimistic about the return of college football than I was a few days ago. Extending the suspension of all team activities was the smart decision by commissioner Kevin Warren and other conference officials.
Don’t allow the moratorium extension to put a dimmer on the hope you have for a college football season this fall. It won’t do you any good anyway.