Some important news on the college football front. Per Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the NCAA Division I Council has voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, as well as men’s and women’s college basketball (Twitter link).
Those activities can begin on June 1 and can run through June 30. This is the first step in attempting to forge ahead with a college football season, which will obviously play a major role in the 2021 NFL draft (the NFL has already said that it will not open up this summer’s supplemental draft to collegiate players who are facing the prospect of a shortened or canceled season).
Of course, some states remain in full lockdown mode, and others are in various stages of reopening, which will presumably impact these voluntary activities. The NFL has expressed optimism that COVID-19 testing will be widespread by August, which may allow the league to largely proceed as it otherwise would. College football, which is itself a massively lucrative industry, is clearly hoping for the same.
After all, according to a report from Syracuse University, only the athletic departments of Georgia and Texas A&M could be self-sustaining without college football ticket sales (Twitter link via Mark Passwaters of Rivals.com). So expect the NCAA to continue doing everything in its power to make sure games are played in front of fans in 2020.
NCAA president Mark Emmert recently said that there would be no college football if college campuses are not open (story via Zach Braziller of the New York Post). But as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opined, the definition of “open campus” is likely to be a malleable one so that football can be played even if traditional classes aren’t in session.