The outlook of this year’s college football season keeps looking bleaker. With less than two months until the start of the season, some schools are seeing dozens of players test positive for the coronavirus while others aren’t even letting the players on campus.
And through it all, coronavirus cases keep rising in college football hotbeds across the country.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday that his conference is preparing to “pivot” in the event that the situation continues to deteriorate, according to The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner. He apparently isn’t alone.
Scott reportedly said that he speaks “practically every morning” with his Power 5 counterparts, and that they are aligned in planning for the fall. However, there reportedly isn’t a deadline in place for a decision on how to proceed. From The Mercury News:
“It could be in the next week that we make a clear pivot, or three weeks from now — either individual schools, conferences or the collective,” Scott said.
“Or we could keep putting one foot in front of the other and things start to look better.”
What’s on the table for Pac-12, according to Larry Scott
Scott reportedly described the following as “very solid scenarios” for how this season could played:
• Playing all 12 games as scheduled
• A delayed start
• Conference-only schedules
• Moving the season to the spring
Obviously, those scenarios vary. The first will require a sudden improvement in the fight against COVID-19 and even that might not help. USC, the Pac-12’s biggest football program, has already told its students to prepare for online courses and living off-campus this semester. The Pac-12 and NCAA have both indicated that students being able to safely stay on campus is prerequisite for playing football this year.
The final option is clearly the most drastic of the four, and would carry countless consequences — especially with NFL prospects — but it might be necessary if the coronavirus is still spreading into October. Clearly, decisions will have to be made soon:
“We could turn on a dime because of all the legwork we’ve put in,” Scott said, adding that other Power Five conference are having similar conversations internally.
There is, of course, a fifth option that Scott leaves out for obvious reasons: the cancellation of the 2020 season. Given that would mean financial ruin for countless athletic departments, no one wants to go down that road just yet.
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