Will 2020 US college football season start?


College Football July 2020 Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

COVID-19 still hangs like the Damocles Sword over the whole world. Amidst all this chaos, authorities in United States wants the 2020 college football season (ball) rolling but all the dates are very tentative and depend on the coronavirus scenario which is still very grim in US.

Ivy League

The Ivy League is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private universities in the Northeastern United States.

Amidst continuing health and safety concerns due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has set in place plans for intercollegiate athletics activity in the upcoming Fall semester.

Keeping in mind the safety and well-being of students as their highest priority, Ivy League institutions are implementing campus-wide policies including restrictions on student and staff travel, requirements for social distancing, limits on group gatherings, and regulations for visitors to campus. As athletics is expected to operate consistent with campus policies, it will not be possible for Ivy League teams to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition prior to the end of the Fall semester.

A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether Fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring, will be taken at a later date.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents offered the following joint statement on July 8, “As a leadership group, we have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions, as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools. These decisions are extremely difficult, particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish.”

The statement further read, “With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this Fall. We are entrusted to create and maintain an educational environment that is guided by health and safety considerations. There can be no greater responsibility — and that is the basis for this difficult decision.”

Status: No competition in Fall semester


Big Ten

The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. It is based in Rosemont, Illinois. For decades the Conference consisted of 10 universities, while the present Conference has 14 member institutions.

The Big Ten Conference announced on July 9 that if the Conference is able to participate in Fall sports (men’s and women’s cross-country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will enjoy greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the coronavirus pandemic.

This above decision was made following many thoughtful conversations over several months between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Directors of Athletics, Conference Office staff, and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

Apart from this, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.

While Big Ten member-institutions continue to rely on the latest medical information to establish the best protocols for voluntary workouts on their campuses, in tune with local and State regulations, the Conference is working with the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee to finalize Conference-wide protocols.

A Big Ten statement read, “As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate.”

Status: Conference-only games


Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)

At the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level – the top level of college football in the United States – a few games are scheduled for August 29, in what’s come to be known as ‘Week Zero’, which is a week before a majority of the nation’s teams begin their seasons.

For the 2020 season, the games currently scheduled for August 29:

  • Nevada vs. UC Davis
  • New Mexico vs. Idaho State
  • East Carolina vs. Marshall

Most FBS teams are scheduled to begin their seasons during Labor Day Weekend (September 7) for Week 1, including Clemson at Georgia Tech on September 3. On September 4, North Carolina heads to University of Central Florida (UCF) and Boston College faces Syracuse. On September 5, Louisiana State University (LSU) will begin its College Football Playoff (CFP) title defense against University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

To boot, the Notre Dame-Navy game scheduled for August 29 in Dublin, Ireland, has been moved to Annapolis, Maryland. The plan is to play the game on Labor Day Weekend (September 7), either Saturday or Sunday.

On Labor Day Weekend, neutral-site games will also be held:

  • Florida State vs. West Virginia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia in US, on September 5;
  • Baylor vs. Ole Miss at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in US, on September 6; and
  • Georgia vs. Virginia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 7.

The 2020 season marks the seventh season of the College Football Playoff.

The following are the College Football Playoff dates and schedule for next season. All New Year’s Six games are also included.

The New Year’s Six (NY6) bowls are the top six major National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision bowl games: the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization that regulates student athletes from 1,268 North American institutions and conferences.

  • Cotton Bowl: Prime time slot on December 30;
  • Peach Bowl: Early slot on January 1;
  • Rose Bowl: (College Football Playoff semifinal): Middle slot on January 1;
  • Sugar Bowl: (College Football Playoff semifinal): Primetime slot on January 1;
  • Fiesta Bowl: Middle slot on January 2;
  • Orange Bowl: Prime time slot on January 2; and
  • CFP National Championship Game: January 11 (at Miami, Florida);

The title game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida in US. It’s the first time the stadium will serve as the title game for the CFP.

It previously staged the 2009 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game (2008 season) and 2013 BCS National Championship Game (2012 season).

However, it is to be noted that all scheduled games are tentative and the times and dates may change as the United States is still fighting a bitter battle against the coronavirus with thousands of cases being reported every day and the fatal virus causing colossal loss of human lives.

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