Hope and expectation isn’t a plan.

Well, Iowa’s president got the ball rolling yesterday.

Amid widespread shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Iowa imposed a moratorium on all athletics-related activities through June 1.

“We’re ever so hopeful that this virus will be behind us at that point, and we’ll be able to get back to what we normally would do,” UI President Bruce Harreld told the Board of Regents on Thursday.

That includes Hawkeye football practice. The team already missed this its spring practice.

“Right now, June 1 is the date we’re going to get back to practice,” Harreld said.

Medical experts and trainers have advised players need “six to eight weeks of good practice” to stay safe, according to Harreld.

“I’m sure our coaches would love a lot more time so that they can make them winners,” he said. “But the key issue here is we can say we need six to eight weeks.”

He was joined by the great state of Texas shortly thereafter.

The most visible public universities in Texas are moving toward reopening their campuses in the fall — and two say they plan to play football when they do.

On Thursday, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp told all 11 university presidents in the system that they will reopen their campuses next school year and be ready to play sports, a university system official confirmed to The Texas Tribune. Texas Tech University has also announced that it plans to resume on-campus classes in the fall, and university President Lawrence Schovanec told the Tribune that Tech is planning to play sports, too, though it’s unlikely either school will be able to bring back sports like football on its own.

To their credit, I guess, none of them were comfortable extending the picture to fans in the stands.  That didn’t stop our own Jere Morehead.

“Our hope at this point, our expectation at this point is that we’ll have a normal football season and be able to play all of our games,” Morehead said. “We’re certainly working toward that goal. I think as time goes by and we see the course of the pandemic, we’ll have a better sense of when, for example, have football players back on campus. That’s a key issue because the football players need to get into conditioning. They need to be involved in practice. We didn’t have spring practice this year so at some point this summer, that will have to happen for us to have a normal football season.”

“Certainly our hope and expectation is that we’ll have fans in the stands,” Morehead We hope that we’ll have our players here at some point during the month of July. We’ll just have to see how the various developments related to COVID-19 affect that timeline but our commissioner is very focused on this issue. Of course all of the SEC presidents are meeting literally at least once a week to discuss this and many other athletic issues. One of the the things I have to emphasize is that even though Greg McGarity has done a great job of being very conservative in finances, which is now proving to have been absolutely critical, even a school like Georgia would be devastated by not having football season because football is the driver financially for all the other athletic programs that we have. It’s also what brings this campus together, brings Bulldog Nation together. So I’m very optimistic, very hopeful that we’ll have a full football season.”

Granted, in reality, all this hopin’ and expectin’ doesn’t mean a helluva lot right now.  Who doesn’t want a normal football season?  But it’s kind of sobering to see the likes of Bob Bowlsby throwing cold water on the matter.

“It’s hard to put 100,000 people in a stadium when you’ve got to sit 6 feet apart,” he said. “Does a 100,000-seat stadium become a 25,000-seat stadium?”

He also mentioned the annual Red River Showdown game between Oklahoma and Texas, which takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in the middle of the State Fair of Texas. Last year, the state fair hosted 2.5 million people over a three-week span.

“When you think about a petri dish for spreading infection can you think of one that’s better than the State Fair of Texas?” Bowlsby said. “I mean, people are jammed in there and they’re enthusiastic and it’s about a perfect place to transmit any kind of an infection.

“In this new normal … how do you have that at the Cotton Bowl when you’ve got to walk through 300,000 people gathered out in the outer reaches? It’s those kinds of things that we’re going to have think ourselves through.”

But all that money, Bob…

12 Comments

Filed under College Football

12 responses to “Hope and expectation isn’t a plan.

  1. What was Morehead supposed to say? No one knows how this whole thing is going to go down. I imagine he & McGarity have been inundated by emails and phone calls from alumni, donors and season ticket holders about this topic. He probably understands well what the impact of no football season with fans is on the university outside the UGAAA and on the Athens community as a whole. There are a ton of businesses around Athens where the difference between surviving and closing is dependent on those 6-7 weekends per year (plus commencement ceremonies). He (or his team) has to interact with those folks pretty much every day.

    Give the guy a break … he loves Georgia more than any president we’ve had since Davison and maybe before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Granted, in reality, all this hopin’ and expectin’ doesn’t mean a helluva lot right now. Who doesn’t want a normal football season?” You miss that part?

      It’s empty talk. The problem is giving all those people you’re referring to false hope as the season gets closer.

      As far as what he’s supposed to say, again, his peers managed to avoid speaking as strongly about crowds as he did. Maybe they don’t love their schools as much.

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      • I admit I didn’t like the snark thrown Morehead’s way. If I read it wrong, I apologize.

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        • I worry about the over-promising. There’s no reason to get too far out over your skis right now, when a simple “we’re planning for all contingencies, including a season opening on time” would suffice. Even McGarity managed that.

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  2. BuffaloSpringfield

    Wondering how with Sanford Stadium’s seating capacity at 92,746 what a sellout crowd of 15,457 folks appear would ( with one seat taken 6 seats apart ) and the fact that the McGill society picks over the Butts-Mehre Country Club. Perhaps they choose a age limit set on tickets. No one 65 years or older.
    President Morehead and McGarity thought figuring out the sale of alcohol was a tough one.

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  3. Macallanlover

    Saw a clip on TV last evening projecting what 6 foot spacing would look like in a couple of different restaurant settings/configurations, a coliseum of 15K, and an outdoor stadium. We are in for a more dramatic difference than many think for the next year+. It should be interesting seeing the arguments of which 20K fans get the tickets for the Auburn game.

    Bill Gates says it will take 7 billion vaccine doses to stamp this virus out, I have no idea how he arrived at that number, it seems improbable there could ever be that level of penetration of the population, but the enormous scale is fair to point out, even if unrealistic. Gates is well connected and medical personnel would love perfection, but vaccinating at the 100% level is extreme and naive. All to say, we have a long way to go before any of us gets our best case scenario.

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    • If 93k goes to 30k, it’s really going to be interesting to see the mix of Magill vs. Hartman vs. visitors vs. students. I assume every school will mutually agree to eliminate the visitor allotment or to trim it down to an extremely small number. All of the students pay the athletic fee, and I assume only a small portion are going to get student tickets (I can see each student getting 2 tickets for the season). With 61,000 season tickets available (as of 4/7/2020), I have to assume Magill people are going to get their full allotment of tickets (approximately 1,000 members – 8/10/19) regardless of their Hartman standing, so, assuming 4,000 spots are taken + 6,000 student tickets, that leaves 20k (or a little less if visitor allotments continue to exist), that leaves about 37k of ticket refunds to issue at $410 a piece.

      That’s $15,170,000 of cash losses to the AA.

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  4. W Cobb Dawg

    “It’s hard to put 100,000 people in a stadium when you’ve got to sit 6 feet apart,”

    Not sure Neyland stadium would hold 1,000 under those circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ATL Dawg

    “Jere” is spooked about giving out all those refunds.

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  6. ATL Dawg

    The Iowa prez wants his unpaid labor back to work June 1 yet summer classes are online only thru at least mid-June.

    “The UI has currently only canceled in-person instruction through the first three sessions of summer classes, which end mid-June.”

    https://dailyiowan.com/2020/04/17/university-of-iowa-planning-for-in-person-classes-in-fall-2020-semester/

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  7. Cojones

    I disagree that we will play ball this Fall, however, casting aspersions on Jere’s words (as wrong as I think they will prove to be) as being “…hopin’ and expectin’…” is a little unfair when he has 9 committees working on various problems that are inherent with opening Georgia football. Should any be impossible to solve, yep, he has a built-in excuse when he has to stop the movement that has started.

    Have to admit that I’m impressed by the type of problems he selected that would prove to stop Georgia football for individual safety reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I bet there aren’t any Dawg walks.

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