Speculation that college football won’t have a 2020 season is becoming more and more prevalent amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A president of one FBS school sounded rather certain, for a time, on Tuesday that would be the case.
Thomas Katsouleas, president of the University of Connecticut, told a journalism class that the “current thinking” is no fall NCAA sports will be played this year. Katsouleas later released a statement to clarify that no decisions have been made and that he was merely speculating.
“Our hope is that we will be able to play in the fall, as planned,” Katsouleas wrote. The NCAA fall season will begin in late August. UConn’s football opener is set for Sept. 3 vs. UMass.
Pat McKenna, spokesman for UConn’s athletic department, released a statement (per the Hartford Courant) saying, “At this point in time, there have been no decisions made to cancel fall sports at UConn. That action would be premature and we will continue to work with our state and local officials, as well as our conference and the NCAA on such matters.”
UConn is scheduled to rejoin the Big East on July 1. The football program will play as an independent after leaving the American Athletic Conference.
The NCAA canceled the remainder of its winter and spring sports seasons in March as COVID-19 was spreading through the United States. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the College World Series were among the major events shut down.
Katsouleas made his comments less than a week after the College Football Playoff management committee — made up of all 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick — expressed to Vice President Mike Pence in a call that sports would not resume until students are able to return to campus. There is no timetable for when that will happen.
The FBS, the highest level of college football, is comprised of 130 schools.