Northwestern University Athletic Director Jim Phillips is doing what everyone else in his position is doing: brainstorming. With the possibility of the 2020 college football season being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, decision-makers across the country are discussing potential options.

And when Phillips says everything is on the table, he means it. Yes, that includes the possibility of not having any college football at all during the 2020 season.

“There’s absolutely a possibility it may not happen — or any of our fall sports,” Phillips said on WBBM in Chicago. “Maybe we’ll play 12 games, maybe you won’t be able to play any. Maybe there’s a reduced schedule you can have. Everybody’s trying to figure this out as we go along.

“There will be a college football season only if and when the medical experts, CDC, state, regional and national leaders declare it to be safe. And it won’t be made by a football coach, an athletic director, or a university president.”

College and professional football seasons are still months away, providing athletic directors and conference commissioners time to come up with multiple options for the 2020 season. And as much as they want to have football in the fall, Phillips isn’t naive and dismissing the potential that it may not happen.

Right now, it’s impossible to judge what the status of the country will be by late August and early September, when the first games are scheduled to be played. There’s still a lot of time between now and then, but decisions may start being made by late May, depending on the status of the ongoing pandemic.