The president of the NCAA is washing his hands on an important matter and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Mark Emmert, public enemy No. 1 in some circles, said Tuesday the NCAA will not oversee a uniform return to college sports. He told ESPN those decisions will be left up to local officials.
“Normally, there’s an agreed-upon start date for every sport, every season,” Emmert told ESPN, “but under these circumstances, now that’s all been derailed by the pandemic. It won’t be the conferences that can do that, either. It will be the local and state health officials that say whether or not you can open and play football with fans.
“We already saw the Oregon governor offering her views on what’s likely to happen in September. The Pac-12 can say, ‘Gee, we’d all like to open up on this date,’ but whether or not you can is going to be ultimately up to the state and local health officials and the campus itself making a decision whether or not they want to go forward.”
It’s good news for some and bad for others. In states that have taken more restrictive coronavirus measure, like California, those college athletic programs may suffer competitively under prolonged stay-at-home orders. This policy would allow for other schools in the PAC-12 to move forward and play without every member of the conference participating.
The latest from Emmert provides more insight, although it does not come with more certainty. Instead of looking to one entity to set a restart date, there will be 50 different governors and dozens of conference commissioners working together to reach a decision.