Even though we’re less than three months from the first scheduled college football game, there are still a lot of uncertainties regarding the upcoming season. For now, Michigan State Athletic Director says the program is proceeding as scheduled.
Speaking with reporters via a teleconference on Thursday, Beekman said the plan is to continue as scheduled. However, the athletic department and school is still considering contingency plans moving forward.
“We have explored or talked about just about, I think, every imaginable option that one could think of — with the goal of trying to play football in a way that keeps everybody safe,” Beekman said, according to 247Sports. “And so we’ve explored, in varying degrees of thoroughness and seriousness, but explored just about every imaginable option you could think of, from spring seasons to split seasons to shortened seasons to conference-only schedules. It runs the gamut in terms of being prepared for how we might react to whatever the virus gives us.”
Michigan State is scheduled to open the college football season on Saturday, Sept. 5 against Northwestern.
With the NCAA ending its moratorium on organized team activities on June 1, student-athletes across the country are beginning to return to campus. Voluntary workouts will begin at Michigan State on June 15.
If there are no interruptions, it would be a good sign for that Sept. 5 start date.
“If we have the ability to do things in the normal course, we’ll do them, and we’ll do them until we can’t do them,” Beekman said. “And so as of today, we’re planning to start on Sept. 5 against Northwestern and we’re planning toward that end until we have to deviate from that plan.
“Now with that said, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the multitude of what-ifs and the scenarios that could occur, that of course are all purely hypothetical at this point. But our hope is to play the schedule as it’s been laid out, and so we’ll keep hoping to achieve that goal until we can’t. And then we’ll move into the mode of implementing plan A, B, C, D, E, so on, as necessary.”
One thing that may not proceed as normal is attendance. Beekman stated that he expects Spartan Stadium to operate at 20-30 percent of the venue’s 57,000-seat stadium. That would mean between 15,000 and 23,000 fans could attend MSU home games.
If social distancing guidelines are relaxed, an increase in capacity could be an option.