Will college football be played this fall? Concerns mount with weeks left until start of season

Monday, August 10, 2020
Students heading back to class at NC State, UNC
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Going back to class looks different this year for college students.

After the Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday to discuss mounting concern about whether a college football season can be played in a pandemic, players took to social media to urge leaders to let them play.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

Bowlsby cited "growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis."

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has weighed in on the powerhouse league's situation regarding a decision on the football season.

Sankey posted on Twitter he doesn't know if college football can be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the best advice he has received since the pandemic started was to be patient in making decisions. "This is all new & you'll gain better information each day," Sankey posted.

"We know concerns remain," Sankey said. "We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don't know. We haven't stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so...every day."

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten's university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

The final call on whether major college football will be played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was vocal on Twitter on Sunday, asking the conferences to come together and make a plan.

On Monday, Elon University announced that it was postponing fall sport competition, including football, volleyball, men's and women's soccer and men's and women's cross country.

Competition for the fall sports may occur in the spring, depending on decisions by the NCAA and the Colonial Athletic Association, the university said.

"We've been continually monitoring the landscape in intercollegiate athletics and arrived at this decision through careful consideration," Director of Athletics Dave Blank said. "Player safety was paramount in this decision. When considering everything involved in trying to compete, including testing, contact tracing, scheduling challenges and travel away from campus, delaying these seasons allows us to provide student-athletes with the safest and best possible playing experience current circumstances will allow. In addition, we chose to provide our student-athletes with clarity on the issue of fall sports occurring as quickly as possible as we recognize that a clear direction is best for personal safety, mental health, and their overall well-being."

UNC Wilmington is also suspending competition of its fall sports programs.

The sports of men's soccer, women's soccer, volleyball, men's cross country and women's cross country will continue to prepare for an expected spring season.

"We have been determined throughout the summer to mirror the NCAA's championship calendar and compete in fall sports pursuant to all medical and safety guidelines. With this latest issuance from the NCAA, we will pause, but fully intend to play our fall sports in the spring," UNCW Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass said. "The personal safety and well-being of our coaches, student-athletes and staff remains a top priority for us. We will continue to provide a safe environment through established protocols as we navigate these difficult circumstances."