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SEC extends suspension on athletics activities until end of May, ups time limit on virtual film review

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SEC commissioner Greg Sankey previously said the league had a narrow window to hold spring practice. It appears that time frame is now even narrower.

The conference announced on Friday that they have extended their suspension on athletics activities until May 31. Previously that date was up to April 15.

The extension was the result of “public health advisories related to continuing developments associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Already the league has put an axe to their annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla. that normally occurs next month. While Sankey had previously said SEC media days in July are moving forward, those could also be in jeopardy depending on how things go.

Perhaps just as notable for coaches was the conference office bumping film review hours up from two to four per week. Coaches had complained about the limit and led to an NCAA waiver for many conferences.

The NCAA also recently extended their own moratorium on recruiting until May 31. The Southeastern Conference has pretty much been in lockstep with the folks in Indianapolis on those dates.

The good news is that many of the football programs around the South are doing their best with the situation. For example, Kentucky announced their indoor practice facility was being converted to a field hospital.

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.

SEC to begin allowing virtual instruction next week

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The SEC is about to allow coaches to use remote tools to instruct their players, according to a report from Auburn Undercover on Friday.

Citing a memo sent to SEC athletic departments, Auburn Undercover says the new policy will go into effect beginning on Monday, March 30. According to the memo, coaching staff members will be allowed to provide “technical or tactical instruction” to players. Strength and conditioning coaches may still provide players with specific workouts to do on heir own, but no coaches may observe the players while working out.

In these times, having any kind of chance to interact with players is important, even if it must be done through a computer. It’s better than nothing, after all. And while it may not be a perfect substitute for spring football practices, it at least keeps the lines of communication within the program more open.

As previously reported, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was quoted in a radio interview as having a concern about the Big 12 not allowing coaches to make use of their virtual options the way coaches in the ACC have. Riley noted players in the ACC are able to receive video instruction and training gear through the mail. The Big 12 may change their policies in the next week to be more accommodating for coaches and players in a similar fashion to what the SEC is doing.

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.

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 March 27, 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: Tennessee suspends DB after he allegedly punched police officer
THE SYNOPSIS: It was alleged that Kenneth George Jr. punched a police officer as the officer was attempting to clear a crowd off the streets, leaving him facing charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence and disorderly conduct.  In August, George pleaded guilty to a pair of charges and was sentenced to one year of probation.  Off suspension, the cornerback started six of the 13 games in which he played this past season.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Tua Tagovailoa back to throwing (some) for Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: The star quarterback suffered a hand injury during the first practice of the spring and underwent surgery.  Of course, Tagovailoa went on to suffer a more noteworthy injury the following year.

2017

THE HEADLINE: UNLV ‘very excited’ to share Las Vegas stadium with Raiders
THE SYNOPSIS: On this date three years ago, NFL owners approved the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas starting with the 2020 season.  It was also confirmed that the NFL team’s new stadium would serve as the college football home for UNLV.  Work on that stadium continues.

2016

THE HEADLINE: VIDEO: James Franklin in bunny costume tackling candy-filled piñata? Why not
THE SYNOPSIS: The headline pretty much says it all, no?

2015

THE HEADLINE: Likely starter at QB for Vandy chooses medical school over football
THE SYNOPSIS: A history of injuries, including concussions, triggered Patton Robinette‘s decision to retire from the sport.  Exiting spring practice a week earlier, Robinette was widely viewed as the front-runner to start under center for the Commodores in 2015.

2013

THE HEADLINE: The NCAA’s laughable case against Miami reportedly takes another bad turn
THE SYNOPSIS: If you’re a fan of The U and in the mood to get pissed off all over again, just click on the link above.  NCAA and unmitigated disaster come to mind.

2010

THE HEADLINE: The one where Urban apologizes
THE SYNOPSIS: Then the Florida head coach, Urban Meyer privately apologized to a journalist he had very publicly lambasted three days earlier.

2009

THE HEADLINE: OU RECRUIT ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE FELONY CHARGES*
THE SYNOPSIS: The recruit, Justin Chaisson, joined the Oklahoma football program a couple of months after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges.  The defensive lineman went on to leave the Sooners the following August.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)