Delay of play due to COVID-19 'inevitable' in B1G, Michigan State AD says
While there’s a lot of excitement that the B1G has made the decision to return to a fall football schedule in 2020, there’s also some concern that the nine-game, nine-week schedule the conference will implement could cause some issues.
The B1G announced on Wednesday that it was reinstating a fall football schedule, with games beginning the weekend of Oct. 23-24. There’s an eight-game regular season followed by a “Champions Week,” a cross-division week in which teams are paired based on how they finish in their division (No. 1 East vs. No. 1 West, No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, No. 3 East vs. No. 3 West, etc.).
No bye weekends. No room for error.
But Michigan State Bill Beekman suggests that there will be some sort of COVID-19 delay to the season. Perhaps it will not affect the entire conference, but he thinks one or multiple of the B1G’s 14 teams will experience some issues.
“I think it’s probably inevitable that of the 14 teams, there will be a time when one or more teams can’t play for a week or more,” Beekman said, according to Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press. “And we haven’t worked through as a conference all the details of what that will mean and what the implications of that are, but I think that’s probably inevitable. And that’s just the circumstance we’re in.
“But I think our thought was that playing the games in the fall and giving those teams that can stay well and can be responsible the opportunity to participate in bowl games, or potentially the (College Football Playoff) were worth taking that on.”
The B1G is implementing strong testing policies in order to move forward with the season. Players will be required to take daily antigen tests and, if a student-athlete tests positive, will not be permitted to return to competition for a minimum of 21 days.
If teams hit a certain infection rate percentage, all operations must be stopped for at least seven days.
Because of the B1G’s unique scheduling plan, there is no room for makeup games within the season. Whether or not the league would reschedule those games at the end of the regular season is something that could be an option, especially if bowl eligibility is at stake.
It will certainly make for an interesting year.