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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.

Rutgers (!) continues its recruiting roll, lands four-star commitment that gives it the No. 12 2021 class thus far

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Under second first-year head coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers football has been on a recruiting roll. Thursday night, that roll continued.

As we noted earlier this week, Rutgers had secured four commitments from 2021 football recruits in a span of six days. On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, Khayri Banton added to the haul by announcing his commitment to the Rutgers football program.

“First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that, all of the blessing I’ve received in this recruitment process, were God-given,” Banton wrote. “Second, I would like to thank my immediate family, especially my mother for supporting my development as a young man and student-athlete.

“Lastly, I’d like to thank… all my coaches and mentor who’ve helped mold me through my years of playing the sport I love, and also all of the collegiate coaching staffs who’ve recruited me and enabled the opportunity of attending and playing at their University.

“This process and decision was not easy but, I stayed home and represented my city through high school football. Now I’ve decided to stay home and represent my state.

Banton is a four-star 2021 prospect. On the 247Sports.com composite, the Newark high schooler is rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of New Jersey. He’s the highest-rated commit in the Scarlet Knights’ class.

In addition to RU, Banton held Power Five offers Boston College, Miami, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Also on that 247 composite, Rutgers football is currently in possession of the No. 12 class in the country. Ahead of the likes of Georgia (No. 13), LSU (No. 16), Michigan (No. 17) and Oklahoma (No. 26), among others.

Again: Rutgers football, nine months ahead of the Early Signing Period, is on the periphery of a Top-10 class.

For some perspective, the best Rutgers football recruiting class of the past two decades was No. 23 in 2012. The cycle immediately after Schiano left the school for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it should be noted.

Outside of that, the recruiting finishes have been decidedly pedestrian for the Scarlet Knights. Since the start of the 21st century, 18 of the Scarlet Knights’ 21 classes have finished outside of the Top 30.  Of those 18, 15 finished 42nd or worse; 10 came in outside of the Top 50.

So, yes, what Schiano and his crew are doing in Piscataway is impressive.  Whether that equates to on-field success, though, remains to be seen.

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.