Thanks to Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame, there’s another sliver of hope that there will be a 2020 college football season. Maybe.
The upcoming campaign is scheduled to kick off Aug. 29 with seven games involving FBS schools, including Navy-Notre Dame in Dublin. Seemingly the only near-certainty amidst the coronavirus pandemic uncertainty is that, according to most observers, it is highly unlikely the new college football season will kick off as planned. Myriad ideas have been bandied about if/when the season doesn’t start on time. An October start. Or January. Or February, which seems to have garnered the most notoriety as being the most feasible. Or a split season where some games happen in the fall and some happen in the spring.
As various states have started easing stay-at-home restrictions, though, there’s a growing sense that maybe, possibly, potentially the season could commence closer to originally-scheduled start time. Late last month, University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld stated that he is hopeful the school will be able to resume sports practices June 1, including football. Less than a week later, the Arkansas athletic director, Hunter Yurachek told the school’s Board of Trustees during a virtual meeting that the plan is to start football practice in mid-July. And start the 2020 season Sept. 5.
Tuesday, Jack Swarbrick, the Notre Dame athletic director, indicated on a Zoom call it’s possible for that university’s football players to return to campus prior to students. Provided there’s already been a go-ahead given for in-person classes in the fall.
Jack Swarbrick said a scenario exists where football players could return to campus before regular students, i.e. a preseason training period after Notre Dame decides the fall semester is a go.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) May 5, 2020
As many in the past have stated, Swarbrick told Mike Tirico during an April appearance on NBC‘s Lunch Talk Live that he would like at least six weeks of prep work for fall student-athletes before starting their seasons, including football. His preference, though, is eight weeks.
Last month, Swarbrick made it very clear that he is against fan-less football games. On the Tuesday Zoom call, Swarbrick reiterated that stance. Especially as it pertains to students.
Echoing previous comments, Jack Swarbrick says “if our football team can play, our other students should be able to be in the stadium to watch them play."
— Patrick Engel (@PatrickEngel_) May 5, 2020
Circling back to the season opener in Ireland, Swarbrick stated that, for now, the game is still set to be played as scheduled. It should be noted, however, that the NFL announced Monday that all of its international games, including four in London, scheduled for 2020 will be played in the United States instead. Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for a game in Dublin at the end of August.