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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Ready for some football? Abbott says college games will return

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he thinks college football will return on schedule with some level of fans in the stands.

Abbott has already issued new rules to allow youth sports leagues to resume in June and for some professional leagues to hold events without spectators. But the state rules have so far not touched college sports.

“Once we get to college football season, our goal right now is to have college football season start as planned, with fans in stands,” the Republican governor told Austin television station KXAN. “What we don’t know is what the capacity level would be.”

The University of Texas announced this week it would open campus to students for the regularly scheduled Aug. 26 start of the fall semester. But officials have not detailed social distancing plans or how the school will handle residence halls and athletics.

___

And don’t forget college baseball. A group of Power Five coaches led by Michigan’s Erik Bakich is proposing a later start to the 2022 college baseball season.

Under the proposal, there would be nine weeks of preseason practice instead of five, the regular season would run from the third week of March to the third week of June and the College World Series would wrap up the last week of July.

Currently, regular season begins the third week of February and the CWS ends the last week of June.

Past efforts to move back the season were rooted in cold-weather schools’ concerns about competitive equity because they had to travel to the South or West to play games the first month of the season.

The impetus this time is finances. In the last two weeks, Bowling Green and Furman have dropped baseball to trim costs. Moving the bulk of the season into warmer months would reduce travel costs for northern teams, help increase attendance and revenue from concessions and merchandise for most schools and allow players to miss less class time.

Bakich says Division I coaches have given widespread approval to the proposal. He says the next step is to recruit athletic directors who will take up the cause, bring it to faculty athletic representatives and presidents and get it entered into the NCAA legislative process.

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