Report: FBS commissioners eyeing late July as target for decision on CFB season
All the momentum heading towards the college football season has come to a halt. Despite so much optimism and hope in late May and early June, recent surges of COVID-19 cases in certain regions of the country has led to a more pessimistic outlook for the upcoming season.
FBS conference commissioners who had been looking forward to an on-time start for the 2020 campaign are now revisiting contingency plans. There’s growing worry that, at the very least, the season will have to be delayed because of recent spikes.
ESPN’s Heather Dinich spoke with multiple commissioners who are eyeing a late July deadline to make a decision for college football and other fall sports.
“We said from the onset of this pandemic that circumstances around the virus would guide our decision-making, and it is clear recent developments related to COVID-19 have not been trending in the right direction,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN. “There are important decisions to be made in the coming weeks, and by late July there should be more clarity about the fall season. In the meantime, our athletics programs will continue to effectively manage the health and safety of our student-athletes as they continue voluntary activities on their respective campuses.”
Because of the financial stress no football places on athletic departments and schools across the country, commissioners are taking their time before making a decision. And even though recent trends with the virus have not been great, nobody is ready to make a determination on the season just yet.
“I think you’d have to not be paying attention if you haven’t noticed the trends are not positive, but the campuses are learning how to coexist with the virus, and so they’re learning more about the testing, and about how you go about managing it,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “We haven’t been told by public health officials or our local doctors or our scientific consultants that we should stop doing what we’re doing. My feeling is you just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you’re advised it’s a bad idea. When we get that advice, obviously the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff is first. When we’re told, ‘This just isn’t going to work out,’ obviously nobody is going to be resisting that … but they haven’t said that to us yet.”
Dinich said she attempted to reach out to B1G commissioner Kevin Warren, but he was unavailable for comment.
Ideas about moving the football season from fall to spring have picked up quite a bit over the last two weeks. While it’s still a last-resort option, the logistics are still being discussed.
Once again, it appears all options are on the table. And by the end of the month, we should know the fate of the college football season.