-900 Odds Stacked Against 2020 NCAA Football Season Beginning on Time

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With the coronavirus outbreak rampant, college football is favored to be delayed. Photo by Raw Pixel (Flickr)
  • Odds are -900 favoring a delay to the start of the 2020 NCAA football season the fall due to the outbreak of the coronavirus
  • A poll of NCAA athletic directors suggested that 20% felt that the season wouldn’t start on time. What would the ramifications be to a delay or cancelation of the NCAA football season?
  • Find analysis of the likely outcome of this situation, and whether you should wager on a delay

The powers that be in NCAA football are growing more concerned. With each passing day, chances that the coronavirus will also impact the launch of their season becomes more realistic.

Stadum conducted a poll of 112 NCAA FBS athletic directors. The results showed that 16% feared that not only would the season be delayed but also that it might not be played at all.

Oddsmakers are currently offering a betting line giving prohibitive -900 odds favoring a delay to the launch of the NCAA football season.

Odds 2020 NCAA Football Season Will Start on Time

Outcome Odds
No -900
Yes +500

Odds taken April 3rd

NCAA football is slated to kick off the season with six games on Aug. 29th.

NCAA Quietly Anticipating Delay

While seeking to remain optimistic, college football coaches and school athletic directors are already preparing for the likelihood that the season will not get underway as scheduled.

A published report from CBS Sports indicated that the NCAA has already drawn up a series of blueprints. They outline preparations for the season to start on June 1st, July 1st and August 1st. NCAA regulations mandate that all schools must have 29 practices before teams are permitted to play a game.

Already, the COVID-19 related shutdown of college campuses has led to the cancelation of spring football for all schools. Coaches have talked about conducting mini-camps during the month of May, June or July in order to make up for the lost spring sessions. These would be similar to NFL organized team activities. But at this juncture, that possibility seems extremely remote.

A current worst-case scenario calls for training camps to open on campuses as late as August 1st. If that scenario develops, the season would be delayed until October.

Herbstreit Doubts There Will Be Any Football

Speaking on ESPN radio last week, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit publicly proclaimed that he was highly doubtful NCAA football would be played at all this season.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit told ESPN radio. He cited the fact that it could be 12-18 months before a vaccine is ready to combat the virus, and couldn’t see any way football would be played without a vaccine being available.

Ramifications of NCAA Losses

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard compared the potential loss of NCAA football to the beginning of the Ice Age for college sports. Pollard told The Athletic that Iowa State generates 14% (around $12.5 million) of its athletic budget from the revenue created by football ticket sales. Overall, the school garners approximately $34 million in revenue annually from activities related to football.

At this point, things are so uncertain in the world that projecting the future is virtually impossible. “You’re almost wasting brain power thinking about it,” Texas football coach Tom Herman told the Dallas News.

Unable to look ahead, the powers that operate college football are counting backwards. They are determining key dates that once passed, would mean there’d be no other outcome but to call for a delay to the launch of the NCAA football season.

Most see July 1st as the tipping point. If programs haven’t begun training camps by then, it’s almost a certainly to expect a delay to the season.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the Bay Area News Group he would be conducting meetings in the next couple of weeks to discuss scenarios regarding a disruption to the start of the college football season.

March Madness was canceled. It’s too early to say for certain but the chances of NCAA football being delayed are definitely realistic. But at odds of -900, it simply isn’t worth laying a bet on this outcome right now.

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