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2020 College Football Season to Start in July?

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Mar/29/2020

The 2020 College Football season is slated to run from August 29 through December 12 followed by the Bowl games and College Football Championship.  With the possibility of a return of the dreaded Covid 19 some time in the fall, a radical concept surfaced on Saturday courtesy of Sports Business Journal:

    * Amid a growing concern that the college football season could be pushed back, or even canceled, an alternative could come into play — moving the season up to July, August and September, writes SBJ’s Michael Smith. Every other scenario has the season starting later in the fall, at a time when the coronavirus could be returning for another round of infections as the cool weather returns and a vaccine most likely unavailable until 2021. But staging an abbreviated college football season in the summer presents an opportunity to play games when the warm weather could help prevent the spread of the virus.

    * Such a drastic move would depend on a number of factors, according to sources Smith talked to this week:
    * Would campuses be open and able to properly staff games?
    * Would media partners be receptive to such a radical idea? Given the pent-up demand for live events by then, perhaps so?
    * Would fans turn out for football in the summer, especially with temperatures in the 90s? Would they even be permitted inside the stadium?
    * Could athletic departments recoup some of the revenue they’ve lost by staging a summer season?
    * How would a season work? It would almost have to be conference games only. Teams could start with a June mini-camp, July training camp and eight or nine games in August and September with no postseason.
    * These are questions that take time to answer, but alternative scenarios like summer football will be discussed by commissioners and athletic directors who will be desperate to play this season. There’s no guarantee that a fall season would succeed, and it might be more likely to fail if the virus returns. A summer season could be the only way to play college football in 2020.

Sure this may sound nuts, but crazier things have happened....such as March Madness being cancelled and the NBA season postponed and there not being any sports currently being played as we enter April, the list goes on.

There are hurdles such as limited practice time and extreme heat and humidity, especially in Southeast states.  The argument that summer play will attract fewer fans is a moot point.  Once the Covid-19 pandemic has ended - or at least subsided - the hunger for sports will be insatiable...summer months won't matter.  The reality is that the coronavirus will alter summer as we know it.  Time off, a recess from work, that's all happening now.  The July and August months will be viewed as a time to increase productivity in 2020. 

Teams would need at least a month of practice and strength conditioning to prep for the upcoming season. 

FanSided's Patrick Schmidt writes of the impact of summer play on the bowl system:

For the “there’s too many bowls” crowd, they’ll advocate for slashing all but the New Year’s Six games (Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl). That could result in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with three games on each night, potentially. But could you imagine the Rose Bowl on Labor Day weekend and not on New Year’s Day? A National Championship Game on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7 would have people tuning in, I’m sure. Opening Week on July 4th and a championship game on Sept. 7 would only leave time for seven regular-season games, one open week, a bowl week on Aug. 29-30 before the title game. If this is the only way to make it work, sign me up.

- Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com

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