NCAA will not set unified return date for college athletics, Mark Emmert says
There’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding the return of college sports during the 2020-21 academic year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to alter plans. If athletics do return, though, the NCAA will not be the one deciding on the details, according to president Mark Emmert.
In an interview with ESPN’s Heather Dinich, Emmert said the decision of when and where sports can resume will not be determined by the NCAA. It will instead be decided by states and universities across the country.
“Normally, there’s an agreed upon start date for every sport, every season,” Emmert said, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, “but under these circumstances, now that’s all been derailed by the pandemic. It won’t be the conferences that can do that, either. It will be the local and state health officials that say whether or not you can open and play football with fans.
“We already saw the Oregon governor offering her views on what’s likely to happen in September. The Pac-12 can say, ‘Gee, we’d all like to open up on this date,’ but whether or not you can is going to be ultimately up to the state and local health officials and the campus itself making a decision whether or not they want to go forward.”
Emmert’s comments could mean that conferences, or teams, return at different times throughout the year, if it’s deemed appropriate to do so. It could also result in Power Five conference commissioners working together in order to get a season started in some form.
Right now, no decisions about the college football season have been made.