LSU coach Ed Orgeron really wants the 2020 college football season to be played as scheduled.
The coach of the defending national champions was part of a roundtable at LSU with Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have our team back and we’re ready to go. We need football,” Orgeron said. “This state needs it. The country needs it.”
Orgeron was one of numerous people at the roundtable regarding the operation of schools during the coronavirus pandemic. Others at the event included Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Orgeron filmed a video four months ago encouraging healthy habits to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Orgeron — who made sure Tuesday to talk about the importance of mask use — filmed the statement before the usage of masks was accepted as an easy way to stop the spread.
Louisiana was one of the first states to have a significant number of coronavirus cases. While the state saw a downward trend in positive cases through the spring, cases have spiked over the last six weeks and now the state has more positive cases of coronavirus per day than it’s ever had. As of Tuesday afternoon, over 3,000 people have died and over 80,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.
‘I can’t wait to play football’
Orgeron said on ESPN 104.5 in Baton Rouge on Tuesday morning that he also understood the SEC would make a decision on the status of the 2020 football season in late July and applauded the way that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was handling the decision-making process. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced that they will play conference-only schedules in the fall if football is played at all.
“This is not my decision but it’s my own personal opinion, we need to play football,” Orgeron said. “I can’t wait to play football. We need this season and I think we are going to play.”
All SEC athletic directors met with conference officials in Alabama on Monday. And Sankey said that it was “clear that the current circumstances” related to the coronavirus must improve for football to be played as he said the conference would make a decision about football in the coming weeks.
“It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve, and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis,” Sankey said. “In the coming weeks, we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisers. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”
SEC postpones all other fall sports before Aug. 31
Orgeron is trying to be optimistic about a 2020 fall football season. But the SEC’s announcement Tuesday regarding other fall sports doesn’t provide much optimism. The conference said that all fall sports athletic competitions before Aug. 31 had been postponed to “provide additional time to prepare for the safe return of competition on an adjusted timeline.”
Week 1 of the college football season begins in the opening days of September. While Orgeron is optimistic, Sankey and LSU AD Scott Woodward aren’t sharing much of that optimism.
"This was a collective decision made in the interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Woodward said in a statement about the postponement through August. "The reality is we are not where we need to be with regard to the spread of COVID-19 to safely compete as scheduled for now. I cannot stress enough how important it is for all of us to take seriously public health recommendations to keep our communities safe."
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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