The college football season is much closer than we realize. The Florida Gators’ first game is scheduled for Sept. 5 against Eastern Washington. From that standpoint, the season is a little over seven weeks away.
Keep in mind, players still need a sufficient amount of time beforehand to prepare before for this season. Perhaps five to six weeks. That means we’re right around the corner from starting. It’s pretty clear it won’t start on time. But for the SEC, there are still few concrete plans for how the season will look.
Safety Impacts How the Season Will Look
While the SEC has made no official decision for college football, UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a press conference yesterday that how the schedule and season will look like remains a big unknown. He said it will become a lot easier to figure this out once they figure out how to create a safe environment to play in.
Stricklin made it clear that playing in a bubble, like the NBA or NHL, is not an option. While college football is a big industry, it is still an extracurricular activity for students on a college campus. Sometimes we forget that.
However, Stricklin said he thinks there are other aspects of the return of pro sports that colleges can take notes on. One of those will be fan attendance. While Jacksonville is allowing the Jaguars to play at 25 percent capacity, Philadelphia has declared no fans can go to Eagles and Phillies games. It might be a team-by-team scenario for college too.
Even if fans can go, social distancing protocols limit attendance at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium quite a bit. UF Health has helped figure out a few scenarios for the Gators. Stricklin said to expect a capacity that fans are not accustomed to.
Stricklin recognized this situation the world is in can alter college football for a bit. He pointed out the Spanish Flu limited the Gators to one game in 1918 and how there was no 1943 season due to World War II. Sometimes disruptions happen, but that does not mean the team cannot come back strong on the other side.
Some Athletes Are Testing Positive
Of the 238 athletes across all sports that have been tested thus far, 29 have tested positive. However, of 188 athletes who returned for voluntary workouts, only three have tested positive.
Stricklin himself tested positive for COVID-19 last month but has since recovered.