Ohio State University president Michael Drake isn’t expecting the 2020 college football season to happen without a few changes along the way.
Speaking on WOSU radio Thursday morning, Drake joined host Ann Fisher where the topic of the upcoming college football season was discussed.
“We’re not assuming, necessarily, that the season is going to start and be like last season was,” Drake told Fisher according to Joey Kaufman of the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s not at all a given. We’re not also taking that there won’t be a season. Something between those two wide error bars is where we’re looking for planning, if you have a business then you should learn how to enhance your payroll management.”
While everyone wants a return to normalcy as quickly as possible, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating timelines that are being constantly adjusted.
The college football season is still far enough away to have not yet been officially impacted, but the situation is now being discussed.
“There will be a couple things we have to learn before we know much,” Drake told Fisher. “One, it’ll have to be safe for people to come together to have stadiums full of people. We don’t know when that will be. If the football season was supposed to start in July, we’d say you can’t do that. We’re not going to be at a place in July that that would be something we could offer safely. After that, August, September, is maybe different.”
Drake did also add that games without fans could be a possibility, remarking that “the excitement of the enterprise doesn’t depend entirely on a stadium full of people.”
There is still time before decisions have to made regarding the college football season. The first weekend is slated to kick off on August 29, but university administrators are now examining the possibilities, and perhaps the only consensus at this point is that this will not be your typical college football season.
“Whatever it is next year, it won’t be the same as it was last year,” Drake said. “One scenario has it being changed in smallish ways. Security and hygiene kind of ways. On the other edge, it’s not safe to do it all. In between, one could imagine different kinds of contests that could take place and are engaging and safe. I’m sure that could be created.”
Most of college sports relies in some way on college football revenue, which means that administrators will look into as many safe alternatives as possible before closing shop and canceling the season.
In fact, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, optimism seems to be creeping back in where the decision-makers are concerned.
Speaking to people in and around college football this week, there is “strong conviction” there will be college football this season. Uncertainty about when – multiple scenarios being debated – but they sound certain there still will be college football this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2020