Penn State AD Says Playing 2020 CFB Season in Spring 'Would Be a Last Resort'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 1, 2020

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour cheers during Penn State's 75-69 upset win over Michigan in an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/John Beale)
John Beale/Associated Press

Amid growing concerns that college football may be canceled this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour told reporters on a Zoom call Wednesday that pushing the campaign to the spring of 2021 would be a "last resort."  

"One of the biggest challenges [of a spring season]and it's probably the biggest one in my mindis the proximity to next season, and frankly a second lost spring ball," Barbour said per ESPN's Heather Dietrich.

"Overcomeable, if perhaps we're willing to have a shortened seasonagain in the category of 'something is better than nothing,' that may not be a problem at all."

The United States has seen a stark rise in daily new COVID-19 cases over the past month as states have begun to relax stay-at-home guidelines and have allowed businesses to reopen, per the World Health Organization.

On June 5, the U.S. had 14,583 new cases, which was the second-lowest daily figure since March. 

That number more than tripled within four weeks, as 44,580 new cases were confirmed on June 29 alone.

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With the rising numbers in mind, Barbour noted that there is some doubt about being able to hold a fall college football season, per Dietrich:

"There's no doubt there's been a little bit of pessimism here in the last couple of weeks that we really hadn't had for probably about four to six weeks.

"... I think that's part of the ebb and flow of the virus here. Obviously my hope is that, maybe, as people start looking at the masking and social distancing again and all of the precautions and recommitting to the seriousness of this, we'll see it flatten out.

"What we're doing is we're planning. Obviously, given the uncertainty, we're having to work on a lot of different plans, a lot of different scenarios. And when the time comes, if it's healthy and safe to do it, we'll obviously do it. And if it's not, we won't."

The idea playing the season in the spring of 2021 has been tossed around already by one conference, per Mark Blaudschun of TMG Sports.

The Ivy League is currently discussing holding a seven-game season in April and May in lieu of games in the fall. The other option is to play in the fall with the eight conference rivals playing a round-robin against each other and refrain from hosting or visiting other schools, 

As for now, the NCAA cleared schools to welcome football players to return to campuses for voluntary workouts beginning on June 1. Mandatory workouts can begin July 13.

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