As multiple college Power 5 commissioners remain stuck at the conference-games-only “bargaining” phase, the most prominent athletic director without a conference has begun to slide toward “acceptance.”
Via Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick admits that he has been “forced to seriously ponder in recent days” the possibility of no college football season in 2020. Swarbrick added that, if the “current trend lines continue — as negative as they’ve been the past few weeks — America is not going to return to normal.”
And if America is not going to return to normal, “College football is just going to be a victim of that,” Swarbrick said.
As to the ongoing efforts of the Power 5 conferences to find a way to play, Swarbrick was far more pragmatic. “I think there’s a little too much emphasis on what we’re thinking and deciding and not enough of the likelihood the result will be dictated to us by these external elements,” Swarbrick said.
And he’s right. No matter the steps college football takes to ensure the safety of its players, the extent to which the virus continues to spread in communities throughout the nation will make it harder to secure sufficient testing with an acceptable turnaround and to prevent outbreaks that either shut down teams or press walk-ons into service before they’re ready or able to do the job and properly protect themselves.
Put simply, the virus is currently overpowering the nation — even if all too many of its citizens have chosen to ignore that reality. College football will be facing that reality soon, and the reality for college football could be no games until 2021, spring at the very earliest.