Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said this week that there’s a “significant chance” that the 2020 college football season won’t kick off at the same time for all conferences.
According to CBS Sports, Swarbrick made his comments during a Zoom conference call on Tuesday, praising conference commissioners for their collaboration on planning for possible disruptions to the upcoming season while noting that it may not be possible for all 10 FBS conferences to begin at once.
Swarbrick said that the difficulty could come “either because states or individual colleges take different approaches. You can’t produce a season where all members aren’t participating in Division I football the same way.”
Other high-profile college athletics officials such as Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey were more reserved in their comments. Sankey told a Florida radio station last week that he was “not sure” that conferences would need to be aligned together in order for college football to start.
CBS Sports reports that FBS college football is played in 41 states, and that in order to begin on time and in a coordinated fashion, each of those states would have to adopt a similar timeline in their approach to the coronavirus — something which currently seems unlikely, given that states such as Florida and Georgia are beginning to reopen, while those such as California and Michigan are taking a more conservative approach.
Meanwhile, the NCAA has formed a COVID-19 Advisory Panel to help guide efforts for college sports to return. The group has produced a document laying out principles for resocialization in sport — along with a phased plan for returning to play.