Clemson AD sees challenges with potential spring season


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Radakovich sees it being difficult running against the NFL's potential 2021 calendar.
Radakovich sees it being difficult running against the NFL's potential 2021 calendar.

Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich updated the latest on the near-future of Tiger athletics with the Mickey Plyler show Tuesday.

“If we don’t play or shorten the season, one thing you know that we’ll make it right to our loyal fans and investors," Radakovich said. "We’re just moving along right now like we’re going to play -- and we’re going to play on-time. We’re just trying to make every contingency possible for things that may move a little left or right of that goal.”

He was asked about the idea of a shortened season or a spring campaign and one of the challenges with the latter will be going up against the 2021 NFL calendar.

"Spring football brings a host of opportunities and challenges," said Radakovich. "Like it or not, college football is tied to the NFL. The NFL has done this before in labor stoppages and playing shortened seasons and playing seven or eight games, playoffs and Super Bowl and then starting their next year...I think it would be very difficult, especially for the young men with NFL aspirations to be playing a spring football league while the NFL is moving into their 2021 year. We can play. It may not be with the same people we’re looking at playing with this fall because they could be looking at NFL opportunities because the NFL would continue to march on.

"That’s why the idea of making sure we’re completing with our football season and our championship prior to the start of the 2021 NFL year I think is really, really important. And if that means starting a little later and ending a little later, but still in time for that other obstacle of the NFL keep doing what they’re doing -- I think that’s really important.”

Radakovich added that it's hard for him to imagine college games without fans in the stands.

"(Notre Dame AD) Jack Swarbrick is one of my really good friends in the (ACC) and I can’t say it any better than he did," he said. "I can’t imagine college football being played without fans. Because that is a part of what college football is all about. We’ve got to make a scenario where it’s safe for the player and it’s safe for the fans that’s college football. Anything else is just not. That’s about as easy as I can say it."

Radakovich went on to say that a concern among his colleagues is if fans will return to the stands in numbers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Will everyone come back? We hope they will come back. But there is that school of thought that, 'Will it be as it has been the last few years?'" Radakovich said, adding that their focus is on making the right decision and not the quickest.

He believes there will need to be somewhere between five and six weeks of prep time needed for athletes to start a season.

"There are a lot of contingency plans that will end up being in the trash -- and that’s OK," he said. "That’s what we need to be able to be doing right now is within the Atlantic Coast Conference and nationally looking at different alternatives for return to play. And it really complicates itself a little bit because you can’t just flip a switch and have people return to play. You have to have a safe time period for the student-athletes to prepare, not only for football but all your fall sports.

"Then you have to back that more and say, ‘How are they going to get on campus? Are facilities going to be open?’ I still maintain that it will be very difficult to have all fall extracurricular activities if we’re in an online-learning situation. That deadline and that decision being made by the university will be made later on in the summer time. And all those things going on, well, if you get one in a good spot -- what about this other one and how do you make it work?"

An ESPN debate on the topic:

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