With serious issues involving Major League Baseball and real questions about the NFL, it’s becoming harder to envision college football successfully playing games while keeping players and coaches from spreading the virus. As a result, NCAA president Mark Emmert continues to have reservations regarding collegiate sports in the fall, including football.
Via Heather Dinnich of ESPN.com, Emmert said Tuesday that he remains “very concerned” about fall sports, and that he believes a shortened schedule and a delayed start could “make sense.”
A delay gives the schools more time to study pro sports, and to monitor the spread of the virus at the various schools.
“We do get to see what happens when people return to campus,” Emmert said. “You get to learn a lot from what’s going on with professional sports. We get to see how the testing protocols emerge and how that can be more effective, especially if we can get antigen testing going, for keeping track of the virus on campuses. The fact a delay could provide us with time to do all that could be very, very useful.”
Emmert also said that fewer games would allow for more breaks between games, if quarantines of specific teams become necessary. Scrapping college football season and other fall sports remains possible.
“We need to clearly see the indicators of viral spread be moving in a much better direction than they are right now,” Emmert said regarding whether any games can be played. “We continue to see in various areas spikes both in terms of viral spread, in terms of the percent of tests that are coming back positive, and hospitalizations and tragically even deaths. In those areas where we know we have a lot of competition, a lot of sports going on, we need to see movement in the right direction and right now, it’s starting to plateau in some areas, but it’s not headed in the right direction.”
It needs to head in the right direction soo, or it will be very hard to have college football.
In the end, however, it’s not the NCAA’s decision. Despite a lengthy list of rules that apply to college sports, the NCAA does not act as a global authority on whether games are played.
“Would it be great to have the czar of football stand up and say, ‘We’re going to play!’ or ‘We’re not going to play!’ — of course that’s great, but that’s just unrealistic and it surely doesn’t fit college sports,” Emmert said. “These are college students, and they’re at 1,100 different colleges. This isn’t the NBA bubble. There’s no bubble in college sports. That’s just not how we can or should operate. ”
It remains to be seen how many programs will be able to operate in 2020, and whether those programs will be able to limit the spread of the virus within the football team and beyond.