Poll: ADs Agree College Football Coming in 2020-21 | Athletic Business

Poll: ADs Agree College Football Coming in 2020-21

Nearly all Football Bowl Subdivision athletic directors believe football will be played in some form this season, according to a poll conducted by Stadium college football insider Brett McMurphy.

In fact, 99 percent of ADs feel there will be football during the 2020-21 school year. Department heads are more split on exactly when and how it will be played.

Even though the start of college football is still four months away, 75 percent of the 114 athletic directors McMurphy surveyed believe the season will be delayed.

“Given the medical and governmental leadership opinions, it is reasonable to believe some compromise to the start of the season lies ahead,” a Power Five AD said.

Sixty-one percent of the ADs predict the season won’t start until October or November, while 14 percent think the season won’t begin until the spring semester in January or February. McMurphy found one Power Five athletic director who doesn’t expect the season to be played at all because of the impact of COVID-19.

Whether the majority represents optimism or something closer to survivalism is open for debate. 

“There’s too much money at stake, it impacts too many people,” a Power Five AD said. “If there’s no football, we will have bigger issues. This will be worse than the Great Depression and make the 1930s look like a cakewalk.”

Of the 130 ADs contacted by Stadium last week, 114 participated in the anonymous survey. Stadium also surveyed ADs a month ago. Current survey respondents were asked how optimistic they are for a 12-game season in the fall compared to last month. Eighteen percent were less optimistic, 14 percent more optimistic and 68 percent had the same optimism as a month ago.

McMurphy points out that a number of universities, including Oklahoma and Ohio State, have already canceled on-campus summer classes, and with a four- to eight-week period needed for student-athletes to get fully conditioned to be prepared to play, it seems virtually impossible that the season could start Aug. 29, when six games are scheduled in the U.S. and one abroad (Navy vs. Notre Dame in Ireland). Only 24 percent of ADs believe it will.

If the season is delayed, 61 percent of the athletic directors think it would start in October or November, with 41 percent believing it would be a 12-game season, and 20 percent predicting an eight- or nine-game conference-only schedule.

Also, 14 percent of the athletic directors believe the season will not start until after the Christmas holiday break, beginning in either late January or February during the spring semester.

“Spring gives us the best chance to have a full season,” a Power Five AD said. “It’s been hard for many to process this, but the longer this goes, the more this will become the best option.”

Starting the season in spring, or finishing a season in spring that has been split between two semesters, raises a number of concerns, including NFL draft implications, overlapping recruiting seasons, eligibility and academic issues, weather and injuries. Such a scenario would also allow for only a short break before the 2021 season kicks off.

With a number of universities, including Oklahoma and Ohio State, having already canceled on-campus summer classes, and anywhere from a four- to eight-week period needed for student-athletes to get fully conditioned to be prepared to play, it seems virtually impossible that the season could start Aug. 29.

If the season is delayed, 61 percent of the athletic directors think it would start in October or November, with 41 percent believing it would be a 12-game season, and 20 percent predicting an eight- or nine-game conference-only schedule.

One Group of Five AD said it’s imperative to play a 12-game season “no matter when you start.”

“That’s a lot of revenue for anyone to give up,” the AD said, “especially if you play in a 100,000-seat stadium and 80 percent of your revenue is tied to football. I’m not sure how Power Five schools afford losing three or four non-conference games. It would be a major impact for the Group of Five schools, too.”

Added a Power 5 AD, “We must play football, or college athletics will shrink before our eyes. The reality is, no matter what we end up with, there will not be a perfect solution.”

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