The burning question among college sports fans is whether or not athletics will return in fall 2020. It’s been the topic of conversation as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our daily lives.

It’s also something the NCAA, conference commissioners and athletic directors are working on regularly. While there still is no certainty on the outlook of fall sports, including college football, many options about having a season are being discussed.

Northwestern University Athletic Director Jim Phillips said that many different things are being considered right now.

“There’s a lot of different models we’re looking at, lots of different scenarios,” Phillips said. “If we have to [move football] the spring as a last resort — we hope it doesn’t come to that. But I don’t think you can say no or yes to anything just yet until you are provided a little more time. We’re just at the end of April now, so we have some time and I think we’ll make appropriate decisions as we collect more information as we get closer to the reality of when the college football season would begin.”

Alterations to the college football season has been widely discussed. Everything from playing without fans to a shortened season to moving the schedule to the spring has been on the table. And for good reason.

Because college football is such a huge revenue generator for athletic departments, the importance of playing a season is immeasurable. Without football, athletic departments would likely cut several jobs and sports in order to stay afloat.

Right now, everything is still up in the air. Phillips said he is optimistic about having a college football season at some point in the upcoming academic year, though.

“I think we’re all really optimistic,” Phillips said. “I don’t know if anyone could tell you 100 percent that we’re going to have college football at some point. The health, safety and welfare of those young men that play the sport of football is so important.”

You can view Phillips’ full interview with Big Ten Network’s Dave Revsine below: