Wednesday June 3rd, 2020 9:42AM

Amid uncertainty, college football trying to plan for season

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Spring football was shelved because of the coronavirus. There is still plenty of work going on in college football.

With the pandemic casting uncertainty on the 2020 season, programs are starting to wrestle with two weighty issues: Getting ready to play some kind of season if it is safe to do so and trying to manage what for many would be a substantial financial blow if the season is shortened or canceled.

The NCAA this week formed a working group to look at issues such as how much preseason practice and conditioning would be required once play is green-lighted again. The NCAA said “it is premature to establish a timeline for when these scenarios may be put into place.”

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the discussion is just beginning on prepare-to-play issues after most programs had spring football practice shortened or wiped out and had to deal with their spring sports being called to a halt.

“Do we feel we need a longer period of time to help them physically get back into the grind?” Smith said Friday. “Maybe you need two weeks straight without pads. I don’t know that. That’s where the collaborative of the medical people and the strength coaches and everybody across the country has to occur. A hard date will come in relation to what we figure out there, and we haven’t figured it out yet.”

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, in an interview on ESPN, said six weeks would be a reasonable “starting point” for getting ready to play. Last week, Alabama coach Nick Saban suggested “teaching sessions on the field” over the summer to prepare for camp.

“If you look at statistics historically on concussions, injuries … the most concentrated time that you practice and not play is in fall camp,” Saban said on a conference call with reporters. “You have more practices, you have to spend more time on the field. So I don’t know that increasing that is going to be beneficial in getting people ready to play.”

On the financial side, losing football would be a devastating blow. Ohio State and other top football programs pump millions into their athletic department budgets, funding less lucrative sports. The NCAA is also slashing $375 million that would normally be distributed to various programs from the NCAA Tournaments that were canceled.

Georgia Tech has made no cuts to staffers salaries, but said an early estimate of losses blamed on the pandemic will exceed $3 million. Wisconsin deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh estimated the Badgers lost some $4 million in revenue due to the loss of the NCAA Tournament and Big Ten Tournament.

“So far the biggest lesson in terms of planning that we’ve experienced as it relates to COVID-19 is it’s incredibly humbling and it’s unpredictable," McIntosh said. "We’re in the mode of preparing for anything, really, and predicting nothing.”

Louisville this week announced 10% salary cuts for coaches and athletic staff, including football and men’s basketball. At Stanford, football coach David Shaw, women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer and men’s basketball coach Jerod Haase all volunteered to take less pay.

Smith said Ohio State has not ruled out pay cuts or other measures.

“Our university is going through a process to evaluate whether we need to deal with personnel in that form or fashion,” he said, noting that a hiring freeze was in place and budget cuts made before the coronavirus threat emerged.

“We did talk to some of our coaches about the blessings that they have and that we have and needed to make sure that we help as many people as we could,” he said.

Having the season possibly wiped off the calendar is something Smith said he hasn’t begun to think about yet.

“The football season is vital to the budget health of the overall department,” he said. “The bottom line is that it would have a major impact, and I haven’t yet begun to look at the cascade effects of that.”

Ohio State's athletic department will finish with the fiscal year June 30 with about $10.2 million in the bank and money saved on travel when spring sports were eliminated and football coaches not traveling to visit recruits, Smith said. That could get used up quickly if the seven home football games are affected.

Smith said he can't see the players playing in Ohio Stadium in front of more than 100,000 empty seats even if it would bring in television revenue. If it's not safe for the fans to be together, it probably wouldn't be safe for the players, either, he said.


AP Sports Writers Josh Dubow, Steve Megargee and Charles Odum contributed.


More AP college football: and


Follow Mitch Stacy at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fire, rioting breaks out at Siberia prison
Russian officials say a large fire is blazing at a prison in Siberia where inmates and guards have clashed
5:22PM ( 12 minutes ago )
DeVos reaches settlement in lawsuit over loan relief program
The U.S. Education Department is promising to process student loan forgiveness claims for nearly 170,000 borrowers within 18 months as part of a proposed settlement announced Friday in a federal lawsuit filed in California
5:11PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Amid uncertainty, college football trying to plan for season
Because of the coronavirus threat, nobody knows for certain when or even if the 2020 college football season will happen
5:00PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Masters heartaches walk the fairways with green jackets
The Masters creates more than great memories of the champions
3:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
Gurley says deal with Falcons 'like a little homecoming'
Todd Gurley is celebrating a homecoming to the state of Georgia
3:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Italy urges sports to develop health protocols
The nationwide lockdown in Italy has been extended through May 3 but Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora is urging the country’s sports federations to develop health protocols in order to resume activity on May 4
3:28PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Dougie Hamilton ready to play if season resumes
Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton would be ready to play if the season resumes after breaking his left leg in January
6:36PM ( 22 hours ago )
Tagovailoa’s agent says he's healthy, will be ready for camp
Tua Tagovailoa’s agent says the quarterback is healthy and will be ready for training camp
6:14PM ( 23 hours ago )
Yanks most valuable in MLB at $5 billion, Forbes estimates
Forbes estimates the New York Yankees are baseball’s most valuable franchise at $5 billion
4:20PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
AP source: Bulls tab Nuggets' Karnisovas to lead operations
The struggling Chicago Bulls hired Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas to run their basketball operation, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday night
1:11AM ( 16 hours ago )
NBA says players will receive full checks on April 15
NBA players will receive their full checks when the next payday for most of them arrives on April 15 despite no games having been played for more than a month at that point, the league told teams in a memo on Thursday
5:52PM ( 23 hours ago )
NCAA confirms Georgia Tech eligible for 2021 postseason
Georgia Tech has received confirmation its men's basketball team will be eligible for the postseason next year
5:18PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
The Latest: Patterson donates $50,000 to TCU's crisis fund
TCU football coach Gary Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, made a $50,000 donation to support the school’s Frog Family Crisis Fund
1:32PM ( 2 days ago )
Oklahoma State's Gundy targets May 1 return to football
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy says he hopes to have his team return to its facilities on May 1
8:47PM ( 2 days ago )
Iconic sports cities turn eerie during coronavirus shutdown
They are cities defined by iconic sporting events
7:04PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Watchdog: Treasury acted appropriately on Trump tax returns
A watchdog has found that the Treasury Department appropriately handled Congress’ request for President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to provide
4:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
Global pact to contain oil price crash takes shape
The OPEC oil cartel and nations including Russia have agreed to boost oil prices by cutting as much as 10 million barrels a day in production
4:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump, Congress hope to act next week on new virus aid bill
Unable to strike a deal alone, the Trump administration and congressional leaders are poised to launch new bipartisan talks on a fresh coronavirus aid package with hopes for action as soon as next week
4:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Pro day cancellations forcing changes to draft process
Bill Polian mastered the philosophy of talent evaluation so well that he drafted some of the NFL's best players
11:53AM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: NCAA suspends infraction hearings, arguments
The NCAA says hearings and oral arguments in infractions cases have been suspended through May 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic
9:44PM ( 6 days ago )
The Latest: US Tennis Association says best to not play now
The U.S. Tennis Association says its best not to play the sport right now because of the coronavirus pandemic
7:20PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
AP Was There: Villanova's Jenkins beats Heels at '16 buzzer
A panel of Associated Press sports writers has come up with the top 10 men's basketball games in the history of the NCAA Tournament
11:23AM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Trump speaks to sports commissioners
The White House says President Donald Trump spoke with commissioners of the country’s sports leagues on Saturday and told them he recognizes “the good work being done by many teams and players” to care for their communities and fans dealing with the new coronavirus
2:32PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Was There: Laettner's shot stuns Kentucky in OT, 104-103
A panel of Associated Press sports writers has come up with the top 10 men's basketball games in the history of the NCAA Tournament
11:31AM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Trump talks with US pro sports leaders to discuss virus
President Donald Trump talked to many U.S. pro sports leaders about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic
11:20PM ( 5 days ago )
Kobe, Duncan, Garnett headline Basketball Hall of Fame class
Kobe Bryant’s resume has yet another entry to validate his greatness
3:03PM ( 6 days ago )
Virus forces Wimbledon cancellation for 1st time since WWII
Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since World War II because of the coronavirus pandemic
2:09PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
DeVos reaches settlement in lawsuit over loan relief program
The U.S. Education Department is promising to process student loan forgiveness claims for nearly 170,000 borrowers within 18 months as part of a proposed settlement announced Friday in a federal lawsuit filed in California
5:11PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Trump winery eligible for bailout in virus relief law
President Donald Trump’s Virginia vineyard could be eligible for a federal bailout under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus he signed into law last month
4:47PM ( 46 minutes ago )
World virus deaths pass 100,000, with New York area hit hard
The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University
4:47PM ( 47 minutes ago )
The Latest: Orlando Magic arena becomes distribution center
The Orlando Magic’s home arena will become a distribution center for medical equipment and supplies as part of the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic
4:44PM ( 50 minutes ago )
US officials: Missile defense systems now operating in Iraq
U.S. officials say new air defense systems are now protecting American and allied forces at military bases in Iraq where troops have been attacked by Iranian-backed insurgents in recent months
4:29PM ( 1 hour ago )