With winter, spring and summer sports already affected by the coronavirus pandemic, there’s some concern that the college football and NFL seasons could also be in jeopardy come fall. Yes, kickoff in both leagues is still several months away, but there is always a possibility of a delayed or shortened season.
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly joined SportsCenter on Wednesday night to talk about that possibility.
Already, spring football practices across the country have been canceled. That, alone, is enough to concern college football coaches. And Kelly says that with no spring practice, there’s going to have to be a date in which athletic directors, conference commissioners and the NCAA come up with to have players report back to team activities in order to continue on with the season as planned.
“Well, I was listening to your segment earlier with (MLB commissioner) Rob Manfred. I like doubleheaders. Why not? Let’s do doubleheaders in college football. Maybe two games a week,” Kelly said, per 247Sports. “Look, there’s going to be a date where we all as college football administrators and coaches come up with a date where, from a player safety standpoint, we have to say this is the date that we can live with to get these young men physically conditioned and ready to go into camp.”
That date, in Kelly’s mind, is still a few months away. He says that July 1 is a likely date that, if players can report to camp then, the college football season may be able to continue as planned. If not, we could see a delay in the season.
“To me, I think July 1. If you can’t start training your football team by July 1, you’re going to need at least four weeks. Strength and conditioning coaches are going to want six. Sports medicine is probably looking at four to six weeks. I think the realistic goal here is minimum of four weeks of conditioning before you put them in camp. College football is going to be affected if we’re not playing in 90 days, in terms of the conditioning element, and getting these young men ready.”
Athletic directors and commissioners are hoping the pandemic doesn’t creep into the college football season, as it’s the biggest revenue generator in athletics. Obviously, though, the public’s health is the top priority for government and health officials right now.
There’s still some time, but coaches, athletic directors and commissioners seem to already be preparing for a delay in the season, if necessary.