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Conference Commissioners say College Sports can Resume even if Classes are Exclusively Online



Three weeks ago conference commissioners told Vice President Mike Pence in a conference call that college football would not resume unless student-athletes have returned to class first. They did not specify that the classes had to be held in-person on campus.

This week Brett McMurphy spoke with multiple commissioners who stated that football could be played if colleges are operating exclusively online. Once united, commissioners now are willing to play if other leagues are not. Some are willing to continue playing even if they must leave other member schools behind.

“Given the circumstances, you may have varying situations of what an open campus means,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said, “what a new normal is. That’s part of identifying all the different questions. There are a lot of possibilities and hypotheticals that will be answered in due time as needed.”

Not every commissioner went on-record with McMurphy. It allowed this anonymous commissioner to be more forthright in his beliefs that football must be played.

“Why can’t you play football on campuses that are closed?” the athletic director asked. “If classes are being offered online, there is no restriction on where you complete the course work. You would need an easily-administered COVID-19 test that is available to every athletic department. Test the student-athletes, coaches, trainers and support personnel to make sure that your cohort is free of virus. Quarantine the cohort for practice, online classes, food service and leisure time activities. This would be a very safe environment.

“Many of our athletes were taking a significant portion of their credit hours online long before the virus showed up. The only difference would be an empty campus, theoretically an even safer environment.”

As we all know, in SEC country it just means more. If there is one conference that is determined for the games to be played no matter what, it’s the SEC. Josh Kendall, a reporter that covers South Carolina for The Athletic, told Paul Finebaum the league office is considering every possible option.

“If the SEC’s only option is to play football by themselves and crown a champion in Atlanta, they’ll do that.”

The efforts to return to sports must be coordinated with local political officials. On the other side of the country the two parties are not meeting eye-to-eye. Oregon governor Kate Brown said on Thursday, “any large gatherings at least through September should either be canceled or significantly modified.”

Certainly, that statement would cause some trouble for two PAC-12 members, Oregon and Oregon State. The conference may have to play some games without them, although Oregon State’s athletic director insists the show will go on in some shape or form.

“Are we going to play football? Are we going to have a full/partial season? Are we going to play with fans or not? All things are on the table,” Scott Barnes said. “The one scenario we’re not working on is not playing football.”

The statements stemming from Thursday do not paint a clearer picture of what football may look like this fall. The only certainty is that conferences and athletic departments are desperate for football revenue and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the sport can be played safely.

[Watch Stadium]

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

7 Comments for Conference Commissioners say College Sports can Resume even if Classes are Exclusively Online

  1. Big Bry 1
    10:15 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    If the Rudy Gobert incident had happened a day before the Super Bowl or the CFP, would sports have taken the same steps as were taken before the SEC and NCAA basketball tournament?

    I’m venturing to guess the answer would be that they would have played the games.

  2. BlueBanker18
    10:20 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Oh ffs just let them play. A group of student athletes catching the virus should be the absolute least of our worries because there’s a 99.99% chance they’ll recover in a few days. The goal was to flatten the curve to preserve our healthcare system’s capacity, not to never ever catch the scary virus.

  3. 4everUKBlue
    10:28 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    The George Bush Sr New World Order speech, exactly 10 years before 9-11. This is what it’s really all about, by the time most figure it out it will be too late.

  4. Buffalo Cat
    11:13 am May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Ka ching!! All about the money. Do the football players then go to their dorm rooms for their on-line classes, or just show up to the class room?

  5. ClutchCargo
    12:30 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    The thing that worries me about doing this even without fans is, what about people like Schlarman who cannot afford to be exposed to this virus?

  6. Lip Man 1
    12:53 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    The virus will determine if games are going to be played, the sooner those in charge of college football realize this, the better off they’ll be. And right now, the numbers continue to go up along with deaths.

    Hopefully that changes by August but that one comment about not even considering not playing smacks to me or stupidity and arrogance.

  7. bluemark
    1:11 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    If these kids are really student-athletes, and not professional athletes pretending to go to school, then they should not be playing sports until campuses are open and all students are allowed to resume activities and gatherings. After all, sports are just student activities, right? I’m not saying that’ll happen, but doesn’t this just expose the hypocrisy of saying that these are students first, athletes second? Will the drama department get to produce plays while campus is closed? What about musical concerts, or job fairs? These football coaches, conference commissioners, etc. are just looking out for themselves. I would love to have college sports back asap, the same as most everyone else, but understand there are more important things that schools do and should be doing.