EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – We have seen suspended seasons and mass cancelations of sporting events we thought would never happen. As we turn the calendar to April, the 2020 college football season could be in jeopardy.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has gone on record saying he thinks football will be canceled this fall.
“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” said Herbstreit in an interview on ESPN Radio. “Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a (Coronavirus) vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”
Canceling the college season would be financially devastating for non Power-5 programs like UTEP and New Mexico State, who fund their athletic departments primarily with revenue generated from football. The Miners play at Texas this season and New Mexico State will play at UCLA and at Florida. These games are widely referred to as ‘money games’ and are big pay days for athletic departments across the country.
Despite the uncertainty, UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter is still gearing up for the fall.
“You always have to be thinking about having a ‘plan b’ and a ‘plan c’ and those kind of things, but I think it’s way too early to tell,” said Senter. “There’s just way too many unknowns, but we’re going to plan and we’re going to sell tickets. We want to be able to do everything we can to have a successful fall sports season when August and September rolls around.”
Recruiting is another issue college coaches and administrators are facing. On Wednesday, the NCAA extended the recruiting dead period which means no face-to-face interactions between coaches and recruits through May 31. That makes things especially difficult for programs looking to land graduate transfers ahead of the 2020 season.
Every aspect of our lives has been disrupted by the virus and if things don’t improve in a hurry, football could also fall victim to COVID-19.