As more student-athletes test positive for COVID-19, great uncertainty hangs over the upcoming college football season. While playing football in the fall remains the dream scenario, Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley is already open to moving the season to spring.
Riley hasn’t been shy about speaking out on timely issues this offseason. He blasted the NCAA's move to bring players back for workouts on June 1, a move that led to the spike in COVID-19 cases among football players.
On Friday, Riley was asked about the possibility of moving the 2020 college football season into the spring semester. While he made it clear his preference is to play this fall if its safe, Riley is very willing to wait until the spring.
“I think the people who say it’s not (an option), in my opinion, just don’t want to think about it,” Riley said, via ESPN. “I just think it would be wrong of us to take any potential option off the table right now. I think it’d be very difficult to say the spring is not a potential option. I, for one, think it’s very doable.”
There has been some consideration given to playing college football next spring. However, many conference officials and athletic directors have remained hopeful that delays can be avoided. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, spring might be the only option. Of course, it would require every school to make major adjustments.
“It’d probably be a conference season and postseason only,” Riley said to ESPN. “We’ve seen often teams go in and play well into January in the College Football Playoff and start spring practice at some point in February, and nobody says a word about that. You’d have to give players plenty of time off to get their bodies back in the summer. Maybe a little later start back the next fall.”
Missing out on numerous games and altering the 2020 schedule would be a big blow for countless programs. However, a spring season would be a better outcome than the billions of dollars Power 5 schools would lose if no season is played.
Since the NCAA lifted its moratorium on voluntary workouts and student-athletes returned to campus, there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases across many campuses. More than 100 football players, including 14 at Oklahoma, have contracted the coronavirus, according to reports.