With each day comes a little more clarity or questions, depending on how you view it, in regard to the 2020 college football season.
Will the season start on time or will there be a delay? As Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told The Clemson Insider last Friday, “we do not have all the answers.”
One of the questions, which perhaps in the most important one, is when will schools be able to allow student-athletes back on campus for training and the use of athletic facilities? Once those dates are scheduled, then an appropriate date can be set on when teams might be able to practice and then play games.
“The training is going to happen before you kick off the first game,” Clemson’s Deputy Athletic Director, Graham Neff, said to TCI. “So, when does and how do you equitably set a calendar so there is fairness of when there is a return to practice and gyms, etc.? Then from there, you get into what the calendar looks like. So, my point is … the focus is on how do we manage practice sessions and a return-to-training calendar, first, before you get into a return-to-game situation.”
On Monday, the Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported a source told him the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee has suggested a six-week period before returning to play.
The article suggested, the six-week period will not be officially recommended until the committee receives the necessary approval of the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel. That approval could come later this week, according to McMurphy.
This information is significant because it gives conferences and schools a better idea of when the college football season could start, also depending on when universities allow students to return to campus for the fall semester.
For instance, for the 2020 college football season to begin on time, practices will have to begin on July 20 for those 12 schools who are playing games in Week 0 (Aug. 29). For everyone else, the deadline to start would be July 27.
Clemson’s first scheduled game is Sept. 3 at Georgia Tech.
However, if schools cannot start practice by those weeks, then the start of the season could be pushed back depending on the start dates.
Clemson has already set up such scenarios with it season ticket holders in case there is a situation in which the college football season does not start on time and is cut short.
Due to the impact from COVID-19 in the sports community, Clemson sent out an update to IPTAY and season-ticket holders last Friday. Clemson also altered its refund policy in case of a shortened season or cancelation.
Should the 2020 season be canceled, season-ticket holders can be refunded the cost of their tickets or receive a credit for the 2021 season. If the Tigers play a shortened schedule, they will be refunded a prorated amount for the tickets to canceled games.
If the season is altered, IPTAY will reach out in a later communication with options regarding their IPTAY commitment.
“We are still here in April. We are just not there, yet,” Neff said in reference to when the football season could possibly begin or if it will be a shortened season. “Obviously, there is the recognition that everybody has, but with (different states) there are different levels of where the virus has spread and some of those are within our conference footprint. But I just don’t think it is there, yet. The league and each of the 15 schools are focused on the currently scheduled fall calendar.
“I don’t have a magic date, but there are live and very active conversations on our campus, within the ACC and within the NCAA. Certainly, they are often written about from a media standpoint. There are so many unknowns, as we get into summer, here, and the May and June timeline. Obviously, specific from a football standpoint … There is a training aspect to it. It’s not like we can just roll the footballs out in the first week of September, and the soccer balls out in late August, and start playing. You have to start to work backwards, so our general thought is getting into June. We are going to know a whole lot more just from a social and welfare standpoint. Hopefully, there will be more apt decisions to be made. So, [the NCAA] is going to buy as much time as it can because this thing changes so much by the day for better or worse.”
For 2020 football season ticket and parking requests, Clemson extended the deadline for a second time this spring, this time to May 15. As IPTAY previously communicated, the completion of the 2020 IPTAY pledge is now on June 30.
McMurphy reported, a number of major universities around the country, including Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Washington State, have indicated they are “planning on” having on-campus classes in the fall, another sign that college football might be able to return this autumn.
According to McMurphy’s article, once the timeframe is approved, then the Oversight Committee will work on determining what those six weeks would look like regarding strength and conditioning timeframes before returning to the field, number of practices allowed, the possibility of two-a-day practices and a multitude of other factors that may require tweaking/rewriting of some current NCAA rules.
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