Kirk Herbstreit: NCAA even planning "last-ditch effort" to play 2020 season
|Monday, April 20, 2020, 1:04 PM- -|
Kirk Herbstreit isn’t making any promises or predictions, but he does think the NCAA is making plans to play the 2020 college football season.
Herbstreit came under fire in March when he made a comment about the future of the 2020 college football season. Herbstreit said on ESPN radio that he would be “shocked” to see a college football and NFL season happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Herbstreit clarified those comments Monday and said he thinks there will be a season.
“It was kind of misconstrued and misrepresented based on what I said in a radio interview and how it was taken by a lot of people,” Herbstreit said. “This was March 24th or 25th. I had just gotten back from spring break and I was talking to a friend who works for ESPN radio, Ian Fitzsimmons, and I was almost thinking out loud.
“We were just reminiscing on how sad it is that we weren't having any baseball and I was like, 'Hey man, this thing is scary. We may not even have football.' I was thinking out loud at that point. There's been a lot of data and information and I even said during the interview that this thing is changing by the day, the week and even the hour, so a lot will change in the coming weeks.”
Herbstreit went on to say that he has talked with the movers and shakers in college football and it’s his understanding that several plans have been put in place.
“Since then I've talked to a lot of people, the actual decision-makers in the college game, I can't speak about the NFL. I think what they've done is they've built three or four contingency plans,” Herbstreit said. “Based on what happens with this virus and what Dr. Fauci and others recommend and the president and governors. I think is everything is okay, status quo. Show up on campus in July, two-a-days, regular season, here we go. That's the first contingency and then they've built it all the way back to start in late February or March turning it into a spring sport and playing in March, April and May and playing postseason in June.
“That would be a last-ditch effort which just proves how willing the administrators are with the NCAA and the conference commissioners and ADs and Presidents are to have a college football season. They're going to do everything they can if it comes to that extreme to potentially have a 2020 season.”
Herbstreit said that everyone is still trying to figure out how to deal with the virus.
“I think a lot this is still kind of a feeling-out process and we're just going to wait and see what the data shows,” he said. “I'm going to turn on the TV as soon as we're off and I'm sure something new has happened with how to test for this and what makes the most sense in taking care of the athletes and we don't send them out just because we have to make our bottom line. Next thing you know, somebody gets it and dies. Can you imagine what would happen to the NFL or college football if they hurry back and a player or coach or referee gets this virus and dies? That's something they want to think about. I'm not making any predictions and I really wasn't that night. I was just trying to explain how real this pandemic is and how we all need to listen to the guidelines and what they're recommending.”
When it comes to playing in the spring, Herbstreit said this time of year is when he pays attention to baseball.
“Spring is when we get the baseball bats out and I watch the Reds and I watch college baseball,” Herbstreit said. “I'm a baseball junkie. It just goes to show you how far we are willing to go to get our football. I think it would be weird to watch spring football. The XFL and these other leagues that play in the spring, as a fan, and as a consumer, I have a really hard time getting into spring football. I like that it goes away in early February after the Super Bowl and I love it when it comes back in July with NFL training camps. It makes me want it so much more. This is desperate measures. We're all in unchartered waters. We're in a world that we're trying to adjust every day to and being quarantined. If it means we have to push it back to starting to December, January, February or March, then so be it and that what has to happen.”
A spring season might mean that certain players would skip their final games and head straight to the NFL.
“What will be really interesting in the college game is if they go that far back is guys like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields or other guys, what they would do,” Herbstreit said. “Do they play the season in the spring or do they opt to basically sit out because of their obvious status as potentially being drafted? I have no idea about any of that but it does make you wonder what some of the players would do.”