As schools had been announced for reopening for athletes on campus starting June 1st, many would begin voluntary workouts the following week with others expected to begin on June 15th. While this had factored-in the current global crisis, it hadn’t addressed the ongoing protests across the country that could cause further disruptions. Despite this, a six-week plan had been announced in a bid to see college football return as soon as possible. The plan does a great job of outline a potential training period, but it doesn’t cover what challenges are still to overcome if a regular schedule is put in place.
The current six week plan covers a period throughout July and August, with a yet to be approved approach for training laid out in the hopes it could lead to regular play;
June 1-25 - voluntary workouts, including voluntary and virtual non-physical activities.
July 13 and onwards - team workouts, including weight training, conditioning, and film review.
July 24 and onwards- walkthroughs and team meetings, increasing from eight hours per week to up to twenty hours per week.
August 7 and onwards - practice, a regularly scheduled preseason practice period.
This plan laid out is set to give the team’s starting August 29th enough time to prepare for a return to schedule play - the fixtures have already been laid out and are unlikely to change, but no dates have yet been attributed to any of the games, but there are some caveats. Two-a-day practice had been banned in 2017, and although the NCAA chief medical officer concluded there had been no increased risk or negative impact during these two-a-days, it looks as if they’re unlikely to return.
Another challenge to overcome is within the end of the 2020 season which is scheduled to draw to a close on December 5th and an extension of this would call for change in NCAA regulation - similar issues have been faced within Europe as soccer has increased the schedule in which teams play at with up to eighteen games being played per week in a single league, but changing the schedule may not be an option and extending far into the winter could also cause problems for some teams. For the cancelled or postponed spring games, it has also been noted that fans aren’t likely to see any replacements for those.
For fan attendance, expectations are more of the same - the NCAA committee did not address the issue but it is likely to be expected for the foreseeable future that no fans will be allowed in the stadiums - although it had been noted that even if permission had been given to fill the stadiums, it was questionable whether or not it would even be possible as interest may be low during the current situation - there are a number of games already reporting ticket prices that are available on some ticket reseller sites, but it may be safer to err on the side of caution and avoid buying any tickets for the time being. Either way a focus had been placed on ensuring the season got underway with other matters being a later consideration.
All of these steps are only tentative, however, and could yet change - much of it is just a draft that will be assessed later in this month in the hopes that July will be a suitable start time for many activities, but indecisiveness on some of these points could cause many dates to be pushed further back - much like European soccer there is still the possibility that the entire season is cancelled early if playing is deemed too risky.
The good news here is that there are positive signs from across the pond - European soccer has managed to get off to a tremendous start as Germany leads the way having already hosted 48 games since play began in May, others are expected to follow as dates for the other big three with the UK, Spain, and Italy all looking to begin their restart in June. If the NCAA find safety in approving the plans laid out, it could also lead to college football being one of the first big US sporting institutions to get underway again. This will lead to many fans looking at how the markets will open up for the different NCAA games upon return. That will include picking up the numerous offers and bonuses that are currently available on what is one of the most popular sports to bet on in America – something which is popular with punters as they look to add value to their wagers. Given the likely surge in demand in betting activity as things return to normal, a definitive acquisition strategy from operators in an attempt to gain market share will be imperative, and these bonuses will benefit the punter too. Many other sports are still tentative, with a fine example already set internationally and a successful launch here, college football could be the catalyst in getting American sporting events back into a regular schedule as we move into summer.