The NFL is determined to play in 2020. College football is, too. And those responsible for college football may be even more determined to play than previously believed.
“We are going to play football in the fall, I really do believe that,” West Virginia University president Gordon Gee said recently on WOWK-TV. “Even if I have to suit up.”
Gee is 76. If he does indeed suit up, there’s a good chance Notre Dame will contact WVU about adding the Irish to the Mountaineers’ schedule this year.
“We’re going to do it based on what is safe, what is healthy for our fans, what is healthy for our student-athletes,” Gee added. “But I do believe that we will play football.”
Before there can be college football, there has to be college — on open campuses. Recently, NCAA president Mark Emmert made that clear. However, the question of what amounts to an open campus could be the subject of flexibility and interpretation.
If colleges play football with campuses closed, colleges will have an even harder time staving off the inevitable reckoning that will force them to pay football players a fair wage for the revenue they generate. Thus, look for the phrase “open campus” to be defined liberally, and for teams that hope to preserve the revenue they’ll realize from playing to find a way to put players on the field.
For its part, the NFL prefers that college football season proceed as scheduled. If it doesn’t, however, the league could try to shift some games from Sundays to Saturdays.