The AAC is turning to some of their football coaches to get a better handle on how — and when — college football will return in the fall.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, American Athletic commissioner Mike Aresco confirmed the creation of a new conference working group designed to “discuss various scenarios for a potential football season.” Among those involved is Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and new Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield.
Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen and Temple counterpart Pat Kraft are also involved.
“We don’t know if we’ll have a green light or if we start later in September or October, you’re still going to need that time to work,” Aresco told the paper. “There’s got to be that lead time, regardless.
The proper lead up or ramp up time involved in a college football start unlike any other is a key question for the sport right now. We’ve seen suggestions of everything from eight weeks prior to the season to seven to as short as four from a select few.
Interestingly, Aresco seems to be one of the few who is coming around to the idea of CFB starting up even if there are not students on campus. That point has generally been reinforced in comments from others but it seems the situation among the Group of Five leagues, especially financially, could be hastening a return sooner rather than later.
“I’m still weighing that. My position right now is if schools are offering virtual classes, as far as I’m concerned, they’re in session,” said Aresco. “It may be that you can’t accommodate thousands of kids on campus because you can’t control the situation with social distancing. But you could deal with 100 football players or 50 athletes from other sports. Perhaps you can accommodate that with quarantine and testing and other types of things. Perhaps you can play even if there weren’t students physically on campus. If there’s a safe way to do it, that’s the key. I would emphasize that health and safety have been the top priority in everything we’ve talked about.”
Who knows ultimately what kind of 2020 season ends up happening in college football but it’s been pretty clear that even with everybody stuck at home due to COVID-19, everybody is working on advancing scenarios for a potential return to the gridiron.