As some states continue the process of resocialization in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are so many questions about the college football season and what it might look like this fall.
On Thursday, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford met with The Clemson Insider, along with other select members of the media, during a virtual conference call to discuss the options and the many scenarios his conference has gone over in the last two weeks as it wrapped up its annual spring meetings.
This year’s spring meetings, which are normally held in Amelia Island, Fla., were held virtually as member athletic directors and administrators continue to try and knock out a plan for the upcoming fall sports season.
Swofford says the ACC anticipates everyone will be able to play in the 2020 football season. But he also relayed how complicated everything is right now.
The ACC Commissioner is hopeful, as they get into June and July, things will be a little more evident and the potential paths that are a reality will begin to narrow. However, he could not say for sure if all the schools will be able to compete at the same time.
“It is hard to say right now. We are in ten different states and the states have a great deal to say on whether games can be played and under what circumstances,” Swofford said. “Obviously, the hope is that all 14 of our schools, and 15 counting Notre Dame and the six games with Notre Dame, is that everybody can be on the same page.
“But there are a lot of decision makers in this beyond those of us in athletics. So, it is complicated, but appropriately so, I think, because you are going to have medical people in science, the governors and what is allowed or not allowed in states and college presidents and their boards in terms of opening campuses and whether or not their teams are allowed to play and under what circumstances.”
The ACC Commissioner also said, “I don’t think some school not being able to compete necessarily keeps the majority of the schools, who could compete, from competing.”
Swofford admits they have talked about many scenarios in regard to a college football season and it would be premature for him to have a definite answer at this point in time. They have talked about starting on time, playing an abbreviated season, to not playing a season at all and what that might look like.
During the video conference, Swofford was asked about an abbreviated football season and if conference-only games is one of them and how the six games against Notre Dame would factor into that situation.
“To be determined with that,” he said. “But with the relationship that we have with Notre Dame, obviously, and the fact they are already playing six games against our teams, if that was something that was best for the ACC and best for Notre Dame, we would certainly have that conversation with Notre Dame.
“If both parties felt that would be a positive trying to work that out … I don’t know all the particulars of it, but it is part of our discussions, but that’s only one of the multiple paths that this could take.”
Swofford says the ACC is trying to avoid getting into too many hypothetical situations because there are too many rabbit holes they could go down.
“Intercollegiate athletics has never been in a more challenging situation in my career than in it’s now in and trying to deal with that. But you can say that about so many aspects of our country,” Swofford said. “So many people are so negatively impacted by all of this in various ways in the loss of lives and the loss of jobs and everything that goes with that and the pain that this is creating.
“I just hope the time will come, sooner rather than later, when we can get back to sports. I’m a big believer that sports plays an important part in our culture and a positive part in our culture, and hopefully, we’ll have that opportunity to do that collectively again sooner rather than later.”
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