Report: Conference commissioners tell VP Mike Pence that college athletics won't return until students are safely able to return to campus
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence met with conference commissioners on a phone call to talk about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the affect it’s having on sports. The group of commissioners sent the message that sports at the college level will not return until it’s safe for students to be back on campus.
“Our players are students,” Bob Bowlsby said, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. “If we’re not in college, we’re not having contests.
“Our message was, we need to get universities and colleges back open, that we were education-based programs, and we weren’t going to have sports until we had something closer to normal college going on.”
Pence’s conversation was among the College Football Playoff Management Committee, which includes 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump spoke with commissioners of professional sports leagues about a potential return.
The NCAA was not involved in that call.
As much as everyone wants college football to return to action as scheduled, it’s clear that games won’t simply be approved in empty stadiums. While fan attendance might still be limited, having students safely return to campus is the No. 1 priority right now. Without that, there will be no football season.
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that sports could return to action as early as this summer if fans were not permitted inside the stadiums and arenas. On Tuesday, the PGA Tour announced it will return to action on June 11 without any spectators.