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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.

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.

Air Force hires XFL assistant Jonathan Himebauch as TEs coach

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A month after he was quietly given a contract extension, Troy Calhoun has added to his Air Force coaching staff.

Thursday, the service academy announced the hiring of Jonathan Himebauch as tight ends coach.  Himebauch will replace Jonathan Wallace, who left last month for a job on Les Miles’ Kansas staff.

“Jonathan, Jessica and their family are such a natural fit for our football program and the Air Force Academy,” the Air Force football head coach said in a statement. “Both the depth and breadth of his playing and coaching experiences, along with his very sturdy leadership qualities are perfect for the Falcons.”

Himebauch previously served as the offensive line coach for the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the XFL indefinitely suspended its inaugural season March 12.

During a coaching career that extends back more than two decades, Himebauch has spent time at three other Mountain West Conference schools:

  • Nevada, offensive line (2016)
  • San Diego State, offensive line (2006-08)
  • UNLV, graduate assistant (2000-01)

After his stint at Nevada, Himebauch was a line coach in the CFL (Toronto Argonauts, 2017-18) and the since-disbanded Alliance of American Football (San Antonio Commanders, 2019).

Himebauch also has on-field coaching experience at a Power Five school.  From 2012-13, he was the line coach at Wake Forest.

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.

Amidst escalating coronavirus fears, Baylor suspends start of spring practice, recruiting activities

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Add Baylor football to the burgeoning list of FBS schools changing course because of the escalating coronavirus threat.

Baylor had been scheduled to start its first spring practice under new head football coach Dave Aranda on March 17.  Overnight, however, the program released a statement in which it confirmed that the start of spring practice has been suspended until at least March 23.  Additionally, all permissible recruiting activities have been suspended through that same timeframe as well.

Below is the entirety of the statement from Baylor football:

Baylor Football is taking every precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and the Baylor community. As such, the team will suspend the start of spring practice until at least March 23. The situation will continue to be monitored and any further changes to the schedule deemed necessary will be made as more information becomes available. Additionally, no potential student-athletes will be permitted to make official or unofficial visits to campus until at least March 23, and that status will continue to be evaluated. We are thankful for the leadership of President Livingstone and Mack Rhoades on this matter.

Just a reminder: Right now, and through April 14, recruiting efforts are in a “Quiet Period.” That means that programs can play host to potential recruits, but coaches are not permitted to visit recruits on the road.  Per the 2019-20 recruiting calendar, the next evaluation period kicks off April 15.

In addition to the announcement from Baylor football, it was confirmed Wednesday that Virginia has suspended all team activities related to football.  The Cavaliers had been scheduled to start spring practice March 24; that’s up in the air as well.

On top of that, Nebraska has canceled a Junior Day for 2021 football prospects scheduled for Saturday due to concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.

Wednesday afternoon, both Michigan (HERE) and Ohio State (HERE) announced that they would be canceling their respective spring football games.  Those Big Ten schools, like Baylor football, suspended their recruiting activities as well.

Cincinnati (HERE) was the first FBS program to cancel its spring game, announcing that decision two days ago.  Kent State (HERE) followed suit Wednesday afternoon.  Later Wednesday evening, Nevada (HERE) and TCU (HERE) became the latest programs at this level to shutter its spring games/scrimmages.

While not canceled, San Diego State announced overnight that its spring football game, scheduled for March 21, will be played without fans in attendance.  Prospective recruits will, though, be permitted to make visits to the campus.