Michigan AD Warde Manuel hopeful for football to return: 'I can tell you it won't be normal'
There’s been no final decision on the return of college sports. Despite student-athletes returning to campus and plans for schools to host in-person classes this fall, having football back in 2020 still isn’t quite a guarantee.
Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel is hopeful that the season can proceed as normal — at least from a scheduling perspective. But he also understands that, even if football does return, it won’t look normal.
“We haven’t had a final decision on a season and how it would look and every aspect of it, how many fans in the stadium,” Manuel told reporters, according to MLive.com. “I can tell you it won’t be normal. We won’t have 110,000 in Michigan Stadium this year. That’s a definitive. Will it be 50 percent (capacity) or 30 percent or 20 percent or 10 (percent) or zero? I’m not sure.”
Attendance at sporting events this academic year has been a major topic of discussion. Some schools have already issued plans regarding stadium capacity for the upcoming football season. Others, however, are waiting to make a final decision.
Right now, it seems unlikely that any school allows a stadium to have maximum capacity this fall.
The return of college athletics has been a topic of conversation since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all sports across the globe. Three months later, Manuel says there’s still not definitive answer, but that one should be coming in a few weeks…hopefully.
“I hope that we can move forward and start competitions in the fall,” he told local reporters on a video conference call. “I’m hopeful that decision will come towards the end of this month, (or) early July.”
Michigan’s football season is scheduled to start Sept. 5 when the Wolverines travel to Seattle to play Washington.
There have already been conversations about eliminating non-conference games for B1G teams. A chance exists that the conference could shift to a 10-game, league-only schedule for the 2020 season due to the public health crisis.
Will it happen? It sounds like we should know in just a few weeks.