Over the weekend, Kirk Herbstreit sent shockwaves through the college football world when he confidently predicted the 2020 season would be canceled.
“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a vaccine,” he said. “I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it… Next thing you know you got a locker room full of guys that are sick. And that’s on your watch? I wouldn’t want to have that.”
It was the type of thing we've all been quietly thinking to ourselves, but to that point no one had come out and said, for fear of dealing with the consequences.
Kansas State AD Gene Taylor took issue with Herbstreit's conclusions, saying in a radio interview earlier this week, saying, “I appreciate Kirk becoming a medical doctor and telling us what we should or shouldn’t do. But I’m not ready to go there yet. I certainly am hopeful that if we maintain the recommendations of some medical folks and stay away from one another and be careful and not do any public events in crowds, maybe life in 60-90 days will be at a point where we can bring our kids back to campus and at least practice sometime in July. I think a lot of coaches feel that if we had a 10 or 12 or 14-day reacclimatization period that they could get into fall camp in the early August time frame. So I’m not ready to pull that plug yet, I’m just hoping that we maintain the things that the medical folks are telling us to maintain.”
In an appearance on First Take earlier this week, Herbstreit's GameDay host Rece Davis came to a different conclusion as well. Transcript via 247Sports:
I’m far more optimistic and more hopeful than Kirk’s quote there at this point. I just think that’s a little bit premature at this juncture while offering the caveat that there is so much unknown out there. Kirk’s right based on everything I’ve read in terms of medical experts, in terms of the facts. I’m hopeful and optimistic that with so many people working on this that we’re going to have some kind of treatment, some type of break over the next several weeks that will make it far more feasible to have football. At this point, I’m far more optimistic. Might there be adjustments to the schedule? Might things change a little bit in terms of how the business is conducted? Sure.
All I’m saying is that I think we’re a little premature. Because all you have to do is look back at the recent stats and look at the number of people in New York City, which has been decimated, and six weeks ago we’re encouraging people to go to festivals. Now that seems foolish. What I’m saying is on the other side of that, it’s not just hopeful optimism and belief in the power of people to figure things out. It’s saying, let’s wait and see. We have some time. We have the best minds in the world working on (a cure). It’s not just a vaccine, it’s treatment options, how will the virus react at different times of the year, things that we don’t know.
Either way, it seems as if something of a soft deadline has been set of June 1, where if players are on campus by then, the odds are good we'll get a normal season and if not... well. Until then, we've got eight weeks to put the coronavirus behind us as best we can.