Football’s status this fall is still up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the season moves forward in some fashion, however, ESPN’s iconic pregame show will be there, too.
“If there is college football, there will be ‘College GameDay.’ Period,” said ESPN’s Lee Fitting, who runs their college and remote shows, via the Associated Press.
“College GameDay” has been bouncing around between college campuses for decades, holding its pregame show on site with thousands of fans present for the biggest game on the schedule each week throughout the season.
Fitting, however, knows the show this season may not be the same as before. ESPN many even revert to holding the show in a studio, something that hasn’t been done since after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
While there are plenty of problems and issues to still be ironed out, Fitting knows one thing is nearly set in stone.
“We’re still determining what ‘GameDay’ would look like this season and, frankly, it could be different every week what it looks like,” Fitting said, via the Associated Press. “It could potentially be on the sidelines of an early game. It could be on the concourse in a stadium. It could even still be on campus.
“Will there be thousands of fans behind our set screaming like we’ve known it the last however many years? Absolutely not.”
There were more than 3.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 136,000 deaths attributed to it. The country set a single-day record on Friday, recording more than 68,000 new cases, and has averaged more than 61,000 new cases a day over the past week.
Several leagues have already canceled their seasons completely, and both the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences have shifted to conference-only schedules this fall. The SEC is expected to announce its plans for the season later this month, and both SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren are extremely worried about the sport’s future.
“I’m an optimistic person, but I am very concerned,” Warren told Yahoo Sports last week. “We want to take one step at a time.”
Lee Corso will ‘absolutely’ be involved
Perhaps the best part of the show each week is when former coach and longtime “GameDay” host Lee Corso makes his pick for the marquee game — which he does by putting on a mascot head of the school he’s going with.
However, Corso, who joined ESPN in 1987, is now 84 — which puts him at an elevated risk for contracting the coronavirus. He suffered a stroke just more than a decade ago, too, something that could add even more risk.
Though Fitting said Corso will “absolutely” still be involved, he may have to do it from his home.
“We’re not going to be putting him, obviously, in harm’s way,” Fitting said, via the Associated Press. “Nor does he want that. And if that means we get to the point where there’s a camera at his house, that’s what we do.
“Our goal is to have all our people in one spot.”
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