- The odds of the 2020 college football starting on time by September 4th are now set at +250
- Is there reason for hope at this point that NCAA football will go ahead as scheduled in the fall?
- See the case as to whether or not football will be played across college campuses on time below
Under normal circumstances, college football fever would be amping up right about now.
Schools would’ve either just held their spring game, or the date for it would be fast approaching. Debates would be raging over whether the returning junior backup or the incoming five-star recruit is best-suited to replace the graduating all-conference quarterback.
Instead, thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19, such arguments ring hollow. Campuses are silent. Football is on hold.
For how long? That’s the question everyone wants answered. Currently, it’s the question that even expert epidemiologists can’t answer with any degree of certainty.
And yet, there’s optimism. The latest betting line on whether the NCAA football season will kick off by Sept. 4 is listing odds of +250 in favor of that happening.
Odds on When 2020 College Football Season Will Start
|On or Before Sept. 4th||+250|
|After Sept. 4th||-360|
Odds taken April 20th
The previous line in this betting market showed significant odds of -900 favoring a delay to the start of the college football campaign.
Uncertainty In College Football Ranks
While the betting line may offer optimism, those involved in the game are still leaning on the side of caution.
Interviewed by SiriusXM Radio, Arizona State coach Herm Edwards expressed doubt that the season could avoid a delay.
To me, it sounds like the 2020 college football season would be delayed or condensed. Of course, players could be allowed to practice on a semi-normal timeline. If not, though, the season is in trouble.
But I think high school and college football would be wrong to play w/o fans. https://t.co/UO0W7wv0gs
— Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger) April 15, 2020
Edwards brought a completely different aspect to the debate – the parents of the players. Noting that the NCAA isn’t professional sport, he wondered whether parents would be willing to send their child off to school without assurances that it was 100% safe from coronavius infection.
CBS Sports radio analyst and former NFL running back Tiki Barber also voiced his belief to popculture.com that the start of both the college football and NFL seasons would be delayed. However, Barber was also confident that both seasons would ultimately be played.
Football Without Fans?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the go-to COVID-19 expert for the US government, also recently offered his two cents regarding the return of sports to the playing fields.
Fauci suggested the only way he could see sports back sooner rather than later is if leagues opt to play in empty stadiums. Players would need to be housed in hotels and surveilled constantly to ensure that they were maintaining social distancing.
Logistically, that’s going to be difficult to do with players who are considered student athletes. It seems unlikely that college sports will resume if campus life – things like going to class, for example – aren’t yet permitted.
And would it really be college football without the atmosphere that a packed stadium creates?
Positive Odds Seem Optimistic
At this juncture, there’s no sign of COVID-19 slowing down in the USA. There’s also no evidence of a vaccine on the horizon, or of testing being readily available to everyone.
Without any of these options in place, it’s difficult to imagine any contact sport would be able to resume play. Remember, it’s the state governors who will make the call regarding how and when their individual states are reopened to any sense of normalcy.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine…” pic.twitter.com/O0aq3gSytr
— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) April 14, 2020
Currently, several, both Republican and Democrat, seem reluctant to hurry back to welcoming any sort of public gathering. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Gavin Newsom of California and Andy Beshear of Kentucky have all made public statements about the need to err on the side of caution.
Realistically, public events like sports and concerts could be on hold until 2021.
That would include college football.
Pick: After Sept. 4th (-360)