The 2020 college football season is slated to begin on Saturday, Aug. 29, but that appears to be in jeopardy in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp is optimistic a full slate of games could be played even if the season begins as late as October.
"In some conversations with SEC officials and NCAA, I think they've come to the conclusion that you can probably start football as late as October and still have a 13-game schedule," Sharp said during a live video discussion with the Texas Tribune (h/t Associated Press).
Per the World Health Organization's figures from the evening of April 8, at least 1.3 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide, and at least 79,380 people have died.
The United States has more confirmed cases (at least 363,320) than any other country.
COVID-19's rise in daily new cases and continued spread have made predicting the future difficult, with the return of sports one such example.
Sharp recognized the fact that so much is still unknown at this time.
"We don't know when this thing is going to end," he said. "We don't know when this is going to happen. For all we know, we may have football where we have coaches and players and referees on a field with a TV camera and nobody in the stadium. We don't know."
The AP reached out to SEC spokesman Herb Vincent for comments on Sharp's remarks.
"Our focus is on preparing to play the season as scheduled," Vincent wrote in an email. "As we have done in recent weeks, using the best available information from public health officials, at an appropriate time we will make decisions about the future."
Vincent also noted that he was unfamiliar with the conversations Sharp referenced.
If the season does start on time, Texas A&M will host Abilene Christian to begin its 12-game regular season on Sept. 5.