How COVID-19 Could Impact The College Football Calendar and In Turn Big-Time College Athletics

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WACO, Texas – In a conference call with the media on Thursday Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby was candid with reporters about the uncertainty of the football calendar and the impact it could have if the football season is cut short or canceled by COVID-19.

Bowlsby said he wasn’t into making armageddon predictions but acknowledged the uncertainty of this virus makes it hard to plan anything too far in advance.

“For those of us in athletics are geared towards, there is our opponent. Let’s go game plan and figure out how to defeat our opponent,” he said. “Unfortunately, this has enough changing components that that sort of planning and execution is pretty difficult.”

Bowlsby said that spring football was likely out the window with Big 12 activities to remain limited for the next 6-8 weeks.

“I think it is very unlikely that we are going to have any spring games,” he said. “And except for those that already had some days of spring practice, I don’t think we will have any additional days of spring practice. We are looking at a window for a return to activity that is 6-8 weeks. So I think it is very unlikely that is going to happen.”

With the spring out the window coaches like Baylor’s Dave Aranda said, on Wednesday, that he and his staff are ‘over-preparing’ in the event they can get back to team activities in late-spring to summer.

“When it comes in summer or whether it comes in late spring, we’re working to get those plans together what that looks like in terms of an install,” Aranda Said.

Bowlsby said before they resume any kind of normal level of activity there needs to be a ramping up period for the athletes.

“I think there’s a couple week transition period, whenever it happens,” he said. “And I think if we get to the point where we don’t open up again until June 15. I think we need to look at what that transition window is.”

If the timeline was to be pushed even further to impact the fall Bowlsby said there’s a possibility of teams playing in empty stadiums. Beyond that, cancellation of the football season could prove devastating for college athletics.

“Anything that I say regarding finances, has to be made with the assumption that we’re going to be back to playing football in the fall,” Bowlsby said. “If that doesn’t happen then the underpinning of, what we’ve known as ‘normal’ goes away.”

Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork met with the media on Wednesday on a conference call and echoed some of those same sentiments, that football is vital to universities and athletic departments, but right now, it’s probably too early to start thinking about any kind of football cancellations.

“We’re obviously slated open on Saturday September 5th,” Bjork said. “I think you have to back up from there and say, ‘Okay here’s what the current NCAA legislation allows you to have for, training camp dates.’ What has to happen, before that in order to prepare the student athletes?’ Then you have to take from where we are today and move that forward and say okay when can we come back together, and those things sort of have to match up.”

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