NCAA president Mark Emmert told Congressional leaders that the upcoming college football season could be shortened and some schools may not play.
Emmert participated in a call Wednesday alongside commissioners of the NFL, NHL, PGA and NASCAR, which served to update the White House’s re-opening task force on various sports return-to-play plans.
In the call, Emmert said the season could be shortened where, at the FBS level, conference championship games are played by Thanksgiving, according to the New York Times. This change would shorted the regular season by two weeks; it would also mirror the schedule many universities have adopted, where the fall semester will begin on time but in-person instruction will end at the Thanksgiving break.
At the divisional level, the playoffs begin around Thanksgiving and run through December. While specific plans for the FCS levels and below were not discussed, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said his group is planning to play as scheduled; the semifinals are slated for Jan. 1, 2021 at the Rose and Sugar bowls, and the title game is scheduled for Jan. 11 in Miami.
Of course, Emmert has no direct authority over college football scheduling or the post-season, which is run by the conferences at the FBS level.
Additionally, Emmert informed Congressional leaders that some schools may choose not to play this fall.
“There are some schools that might not play football next season and that’s their choice,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who is leading the sports arm of the White House’s task force, told Sports Illustrated. “They’ll then have to modify the schedule to work around that. They’re working through that right now, but most want to start back again and most schools are working towards bringing students back in the fall, and that’s a big driver too. You want to work with the schools so sports aren’t ahead of academics so you can do both at the same time.”
To date, no schools have announced that they won’t play this fall. A formal pre-season guideline is expected in early July.