MAC ON SPORTS: COLLEGE HEADS SAY NO FOOTBALL WITHOUT STUDENTS ON CAMPUS FIRST

J. Thomas McNamara

   There will NOT be any college football until students are allowed on campus.
   That’s what the Power Five and Group of Five, plus Notre Dame, told Vice President Pence in a conference call today (Wednesday, April 15).

   Vice President Pence was on a conference call with the College Football Playoff Management Committee to discuss the impact of the coronavirus-10 pandemic on college athletics.  

   “Our players are students.  If we’re not in college, we’re not having contests,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who was on the call.  
   “Our message was, we need to get universities and colleges back open, that we were education-based programs, and we weren’t going to have sports until we had something closer to normal college going on,” he added.
   That means if things don’t change quickly Illinois State and Illinois will NOT open the 2020 season Friday night, Aug. 28, in Memorial Stadium.
   The White House had sought the call with the leaders of major college sports’ top conferences earlier in the week. President Donald Trump has been supportive of sports restarting soon.
   “(Pence) expressed his gratitude for what we did with the basketball tournaments,” Bowlsby said. “He acknowledged it was difficult and expensive to cancel conference tournaments and not play the NCAA Tournament.”
    The call was described as congenial and productive. At one point, Pence asked the commissioners what it would take “to get things back to normal.”
   “I think he appreciated hearing our thoughts,” Bowlsby said.
   “That’s the worst version of this: getting started and [having to] stop,” ND’s Swarbrick said. “This is all about, [it] sort of begins and ends with bringing our students back to campus,” Swarbrick said. “It’s just hard to figure out how you can say, ‘We believe the campus isn’t safe for our student body, and oh, we’re going to bring one   group of students back.'”
   The Power 5 Conferences are the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12.
   Obviously, this is a fluid and developing story which will be updated as things unfold in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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