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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Two more Georgia football players arrested; Kirby Smart ‘extremely disappointed,’ says he’s ‘done a poor job with this group’
THE SYNOPSIS: With the arrests of sophomore linebackers Robert Beal and Brenton Cox, it brought to six the number of football Bulldogs arrested in less than a month.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Justin Fuente inks 2-year extension at Virginia Tech
THE SYNOPSIS: The new deal came after Fuente went 10-4 his first season in Blacksburg.  In the three years since, the Hokies have gone a combined 23-16.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Texas supplants ‘Bama as five-star 2017 LB Dylan Moses’ new No. 1
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than a year later, Moses signed with the Crimson Tide.  Coming off a torn ACL, and following a bizarre social media episode, the linebacker confirmed in January that he would be returning for his senior season.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Report: Sarah Thomas, NCAA’s first female official, set to be NFL’s first female official
THE SYNOPSIS: Thomas spent eight years working college football games.  In 2013, Thomas was part of the first bowl officiating crew to feature two women.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Jameis Winston hoping mechanics tweak helps him improve off Heisman season
THE SYNOPSIS: So, how’d that work out?

2013 season, pre-mechanics tweaking: 257-384 (66.9%), 4,057 yards (10.6 YPA), 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 184.8 passer efficiency
2014 season, post-mechanics tweaking: 305-467 (65.3%), 3,907 yards(8.4 YPA), 25 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 145.5 passer efficiency

2013

THE HEADLINE: Old Big East’s new name? ‘American Athletic Conference’
THE SYNOPSIS: Yes, on this date, the AAC officially became a thing.  Unfortunately, that meant they didn’t take my suggestion: the Big Metro American Conference — the Big MAC for short.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Update: a neck-braced Petrino meets with media
THE SYNOPSIS: Bobby Petrino made his public comments after the Arkansas head coach was injured in a motorcycle crash.  That wreck ultimately led to Petrino’s dismissal.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Report: Matt James drunk before fatal fall
THE SYNOPSIS: The Notre Dame signee died after falling from a hotel balcony while on spring break.  The report stated he was “drunk and belligerent” prior to the fall.

Anonymous FBS athletic director: ‘If there’s no season, we will be f*****’

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If you didn’t realize how important college football is to an athletic department’s bottom line, this should highlight it.

In the midst of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, some connected to the game of college football are decidedly pessimistic that the upcoming season will be played. Others are expressing cautious optimism. For now, at least.

Brett McMurphy of The Stadium conducted a survey of 130 athletic directors with FBS programs, with 112 of them participating. According to McMurphy, the ADs “were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from ‘1’ (will not be played) to ’10’ (definitely will be played).”

Not a single AD gave less than a “5” in response, meaning everyone who responded, at least at this time, feels there’s at least a 50-50 chance the season will go off as planned. A slight majority of respondents (51%) assigned either the numbers seven or eight in McMurphy’s survey. One-quarter of them were decidedly optimistic with either a nine or 10 as a response. Most of that optimism was on the part of Group of Five programs that, already financially reeling from the distilled NCAA’s revenue distribution last month, desperately need a college football season to be played.

If the college football season is to start on time — the first games are scheduled for Aug. 29 — what would be the absolute latest teams could start reconvening and prepping for the 2020 campaign? The answer you get depends on the individual you ask. Some would say early June at the absolute latest. Others have said the middle of July.

So, what if the season is canceled? Completely?

“If there’s no season, we will be f*****,” an anonymous AD told McMurphy.

A tweet from Ross Dellenger of SI.com very plainly illustrates how reliant athletic departments are on revenue from college football.

Suffice to say, if the 2020 college football season is completely wiped out, non-revenue sports will be cut. Lots of them will be shuttered, more than likely.

The good news, such as it is, is that the powers-that-be in the sport will go to great lengths to save the 2020 college football season. In fact, one report earlier today suggested that the season could start as late as January of next year. How that would work with players who are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft would have to be worked out, as would myriad other issues.

While it’s way too early to form a concrete opinion, there’s little doubt that all connected to the sport will exhaust every option to save the 2020 college football season. And, if the season is canceled? It’ll mean we all have a helluva lot more to worry about than sports.

Kirk Herbstreit would be ‘shocked’ if college football is played this fall

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No college football this fall?  The drumbeat for such a possibility grows louder by the day.

In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Mack Brown earlier this week expressed concern about whether or not the college football season would be played as scheduled.  Whether it would be a partial season.  Or no season at all.

“There is a fear of ‘would we have a season?’ ‘Would we have a partial season?’ ‘What does a partial season mean,’” North Carolina head coach said. “There is a great concern because of the remedy that comes in with football.

“The biggest problem is you’re not sure when it ends, and we can’t get those answers at this point.”

Compared to one prominent college football personality, Brown is downright optimistic.

During a radio interview Thursday night, Kirk Herbstreit was asked about the prospects of teams taking the fall this season.  According to the ESPN television personality, he would be “shocked” if it happened.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit stated, by way of TMZ.com.

“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.”

Because of the cancellation of March Madness, schools saw their revenue distribution from the NCAA drastically diminished.  That is expected to take a heavy toll on non-FBS schools.  If the college football season were to be canceled?  That would severely impact FBS schools, especially those in the Group of Five.

New CDC recommendation effectively ends any chance of spring practice for college football teams starting back up

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Thanks to the coronavirus, a new reality has slammed headfirst into college football.  Again.

Because of the spread of COVID-19 in this country, Power Five conferences such as the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had canceled all spring sports, which included spring football.  The other two college Power Fives, the ACC and SEC, had suspended spring football until at least April 15 for the latter and until further notice for the former.  On top of that, the NCAA has halted all face-to-face recruiting, either on-campus or off, until mid-April.

Sunday evening, however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ratcheted up the stakes as the agency issued a statement in which it recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks.  Such a timeline would take us through the middle of May.  At the earliest.

Boiling it down, any flicker of hope that spring practice in college football will resume has been extinguished.

Below is the full update from the CDC:

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.

Coming out of this crisis, whenever it is, certainly begs the question as to what the NCAA will allow college football teams to do to prepare for the start of the 2020 season.  Summer practices on top of workouts ahead of the start of summer camp?  An extended summer camp?

Or, looking at the glass half-empty, will the 2020 college football season even start on time?

Myriad questions but, at this point, no answers.  Of course, college football being played is the least of worries for a growing number of individuals in this country of ours.

Stay safe, all y’all.

Cincinnati announces FBS’ first coronavirus-related spring game cancellation

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Cincinnati football is the first FBS program whose spring has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.  More than, likely, though, the AAC school won’t be the last.  In fact, far from it.

Cincinnati had been scheduled to play its annual football spring game April 10.  Of late, however, the state of Ohio has been among a handful of states in this country that has seen a growing number of cases of the COVID-19.  In fact, earlier Tuesday, the state’s governor, Mike DeWine, recommended that indoor sporting events be contested without fans being present.  He did, though, stop short of banning attendance.

Tuesday evening, however, the Cincinnati football program announced that its annual spring game (and fish fry) has been canceled.  That’s part of a broader plan that will see the university limit outdoor events to crowds of 150 spectators or less until May 1, 2020.

While the game has been canceled, Cincinnati will continue its spring football practice as previously scheduled.

“We are always going to put the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes at the forefront of any decisions and will abide by Governor DeWine’s recommendations regarding indoor athletics events on campus,” athletic director John Cunningham said in a statement. “UC Athletics is continuously monitoring COVID-19 in conjunction with our medical staff, University administration, UC’s Public Health Response Team and the American Athletic Conference. UC will continue to conduct home events and advise our teams to travel in a safe and responsible manner.”

UC added the following in its press release:

Bearcats student-athletes will be provided with guidance and recommendations regarding safety during spring break and their return to campus. Scheduled meet-and-greets and public autograph sessions with UC student-athletes have been postponed until further notice.

Ohio State, it should be noted, is scheduled to conduct its spring game April 11, the day after UC’s now-canceled game was set to be played.