The fallout from the COVID-19 virus has thrown most aspects of life in America into total chaos.
Schools are closed, most businesses are in the process of shutting down, and millions of Americans have been ordered to stay home except for absolute necessities.
It has had a massive impact on the sports world as well, forcing every major professional and collegiate league in North America to either suspend or cancel its season.
College football has already started to feel the fallout as well. Spring football practice has been canceled across the country. Now, the question is how much longer it will reshape the college football calendar.
Will colleges be back to holding in-person classes when the new freshmen players are ready to enroll in June?
Will conference media days happen as normal in July?
Will fall camp start in early August, or possibly be extended to make up for the loss of spring practice time?
But there’s another looming question that no one wants to think about right now: Will the 2020 college football season start on time? Will it happen at all?
Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall gave voice to all that uncertainty on a conference call with reporters last Friday.
“We’re acting as if, and we’re making preparations as if, we won’t have spring practice. We possibly won’t have players here for summer school, any session, and possibly we won’t have the opportunity for anything other than fall camp to begin.
“Knowing that fall camp timing might even be pushed back, meaning that there certainly could be a chance that it’s not even be a full schedule played this year — if football is played, period,” Mendenhall said.
“I’m willing to look at that vision as far as possible saying, ‘What if there is no football this season,’ or ‘What if there is a modified season?'” he said.
The uncertainty that has probably crept into your day-to-day life is hitting college football programs as well.
“Coaches really have no clue,” North Carolina head coach Mack Brown said Monday. “There is a fear of ‘would we have a season?’ ‘Would we have a partial season?’ ‘What does a partial season mean?’ There is a great concern because of the remedy that comes in with football.”
Right now, Ohio State still has football camps scheduled for June, and Big Ten Media Days slated for July 23 and 24. Fall camp is still on track to open sometime around the first week of August, with the home opener against Bowling Green set for September 5, and the highly-anticipated trip to Oregon set for the week after that.
But right now, everything on that list comes with an implied “if…” tacked on.
If things get back to normal….
If people decide it’s safe to travel across the country….
If we’re allowed to get tens of thousands of people together in the confined space of a stadium….
At the moment, nothing is certain. College football coaches are now preparing for a whole lot of possibilities that would have seemed unthinkable at the beginning of the month.