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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.

Big Ten extends suspension of all team activities through May 4

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Don’t expect any of your favorite Big Ten sports teams to be back in any sort of action in the month of April. On Friday afternoon, the Big Ten announced it will continue suspending all organized team activities through May 4 before re-evaluating the state of affairs in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an additional measure to the previously announced cancellation of all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year,” a statement from the Big Ten said on Friday. “The Conference also has previously announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.”

As far as football is concerned, that effectively keeps spring football from becoming a possibility around the conference until May, which makes it seem very unlikely any Big Ten school will get any more spring practices in this year. The Big Ten previously suspended all activities until April 6.

It has seemed unlikely spring football will be able to continue in the Big Ten and every other conference for weeks now as the sports world and beyond continues to adhere to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control have stressed the urgent need to practice social distancing. And with the United States continuing to see more and more cases and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, college football is far down on the list of priorities right now.

With the loss of so many spring football practices, coaches are working hard to figure out how to best prepare their respective programs for the upcoming 2020 season, assuming there even is one (one notable college football analyst would be shocked if we do see a football season). One idea that has been mentioned as a possibility would be the addition of more practices or activities during the summer, similar to NFL OTAs and minicamps.

But first, let’s just get this virus under control. If that means locking the country down, as Penn State head coach James Franklin would consider, so be it.

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.

Nebraska transfer corner Tony Butler tweets move to Kent State

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An erstwhile Nebraska football player has made a move closer to his boyhood home.

In late January, Tony Butler announced in a very classy, heartfelt post on Twitter that he will be entering the NCAA transfer database.  That move served as the first step in a departure from the Nebraska football program.

A month later, on the same social media website, Butler announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Kent State.

Butler played his high school in Lakewood, Ohio.  That city is less than an hour from the Kent State campus at which the defensive back will continue his collegiate playing career.

Butler will be leaving Nebraska football as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

A three-star 2016 signee, Butler was rated as the No. 22 player regardless of position in the state of Ohio.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past three seasons, Butler played in 27 games.  Four of those appearances came in 2019, which was likely the trigger for the decision to transfer.  Most of the games played came on special teams.

Butler was the third player to leave the Nebraska football program in a week.

Linebacker Pernell Jefferson, a three-star 2016 signee, entered the portal the Wednesday before.  Days before that, offensive lineman John Raridon decided to retire from football to pursue a career in architecture.

Since then, four Nebraska football players left the program as well.  Included in that were both of the Cornhuskers’ primary kickers in 2019 (HERE), a running back (HERE) and a wide receiver (HERE).

Kent State, meanwhile, is coming off just its fifth bowl-eligible season in the past four decades.  The Golden Flashes also captured its first-ever bowl win following the 2019 regular season.

LSU confirms its off-campus spring football game has been canceled

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The saga that has been the LSU football spring practice and game has taken an expected twist.

Because of construction at Tiger Stadium, it was announced last month by LSU that its annual spring football game would be moved Southern University, a Historically Black College/University located in Baton Rouge.  Then, in the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, LSU had initially decided late last week to continue with spring practice, which had kicked off March 7.  That decision was subsequently taken out of the hands of LSU specifically and the other members of the conference as the SEC suspended all sports activity until at least April 15, including spring football.

Monday, however, LSU athletic director Scott Woodward confirmed that the football program’s annual spring game has indeed been canceled.  Woodward’s confirmation came one day after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 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 timeframe would shut down events such as spring practice until mid-May at the earliest.

“We’ll worry about how we prepare for the fall sports in the appropriate time, whether that’s allowing more practices or it’s doing things differently by sport, but that’s to be determined,” Woodward stated. “I want to assure everyone that we will be back together as an LSU family in due time, but the most important thing, and the priority now, is our collective effort to stop the spread of this virus.”

It’s expected that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, other SEC schools — and the rest of the FBS for that matter — will follow the lead of LSU and cancel their spring football games as well.  In fact, as this post was being written, Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos stated that the Cornhuskers’ spring game won’t be played as scheduled on April 18 “and probably will not occur at all.” Additionally, Louisiana announced that the Ragin’ Cajuns’ spring game has been nixed.

Other schools such as Ohio State (HERE) and Michigan (Michigan (HERE) had previously confirmed that their respective spring games had been canceled.