Less than two weeks ago, the NBA announced it would be abruptly suspending its season indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. That decision sparked a massive domino effect in the sports world, as the college basketball seasons and the remainder of all spring sports were canceled, with nearly every other live sporting event either being canceled or postponed in the time since. This afternoon alone, the Olympics were officially postponed, likely until 2021.
As the timeline of this outbreak continues to be pushed back further and further, the whispers of “just how far?” are growing louder and louder.
Could this potentially push back, say, college football in the fall?
On Monday afternoon, SEC analyst Paul Finebaum was asked about the growing concern of this issue potentially affecting the start of college football season. His response? The concern is real.
“I believe they’re very concerned, and I think there’s a hope that the season will get underway, I just don’t know in what shape or form,” Finebaum said during an appearance on WJOX 94.5 FM, via 247Sports. “And you’ve heard, as we’ve all heard, that the athletic directors, communicate with commissioner (Greg) Sankey every day and I think they’re just, I’m sure they’re probably going over a list of possibilities — what if (possibilities). And I thought Scott was about as buttoned-down as anyone we talked to date, because you know he is that type of organizer and facilitator and right now it just kind of like everything else, we don’t know.”
To add fuel to the fire, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports wrote in a separate story those discussions are “coming.”
“That would be catastrophic [financially] for athletic departments if they can’t play football this fall,” the source said, via Thamel. “It’s just literally been the last [few days], but those conversations are coming. Some schools are already modeling. A lot of it is a guessing game of none of us knowing.”
Another issue at hand? Preparation for the college football season. If players don’t get the summer and early fall to train and practice with their teams, will they even be ready for the season should it start on time? Will coaches be able to implement their updated gameplans and playbooks in time for the upcoming season in?
“I’m very concerned about, physically, from a safety perspective, how do we get kids ready to play football,” a Power Five athletic director told Thamel. “This is going to be a long period of time. At virtually no time in their sports experience have [our athletes] had this much down time. From elementary school on. They can’t get in local health clubs. No one can get in our weight room. Your local high school is closed. What can you do in your house?
“For me, it’s all about getting the kids physically prepared. The ranges are going to be larger than we normally see.”