The 2020 college football season is five months away, but some within the sport are already preparing for the worst-case scenario as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly across the United States.
"If we can't play football this fall, I mean it's Ice Age time," Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said during a Thursday teleconference. "Because there is nobody in our industry right now that could reasonably forecast a contingency plan for how they would get through not playing any football games."
"The thought that (there's) no football and losing an entire season, that's a complete game-changer. College athletics wouldn't—I'm not going to say go away as we know it, but it's probably closer to that answer.
"I think there'll be a lot of people that will do everything in their human power to stop short of letting it get to that. That's what you hear issues like, 'Well, we could maybe play next spring.' I think that's where that kind of is coming from because [of] the desperation of just how damning that would be."
According to The Athletic's Scott Dochterman, 14 percent ($12.5 million) of Iowa State athletics' $87.55 million 2020 fiscal year budget comes from projected football ticket sales and approximately $34 million of the funding the school receives from the NCAA and Big 12 is football-related.
Pollard previously announced several financial initiatives in an open letter to Cyclones fans, including coaches and certain staff members within the university's athletics department taking a one-year, temporary pay reduction and coaches seeing a one-year suspension of bonuses and incentives.
Stadium's Brett McMurphy surveyed 130 FBS athletic directors about the potential cancellation or postponement of the college football season this fall:
"In a survey conducted by Stadium, all 130 FBS athletic directors were asked to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played from '1' (will not be played) to '10' (definitely will be played). Of the 130 ADs contacted during the past week, 112 participated in the anonymous survey.
"None of the ADs gave lower than a '5' ranking (meaning a 50/50 chance there is no season). However, several admitted they probably provided a higher-numbered response because they wanted to remain positive and optimistic about having the season."
One anonymous athletic director told McMurphy that "many programs will be out of business without a season," while another state, "we will be f--ked."
Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd he and his program are acting under the assumption the season will at least be delayed if not canceled.
Spring practices across the country were canceled in March:
As of now, the 2020 college football season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Aug. 29.