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Kirk Herbstreit: ‘Shocked’ If We Have College Football This Fall

And why I’m starting to agree.



Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked about it on Thursday. College coaches and ADs have been talking about it all week. No college football is a real possibility, no matter what you believe about science or the media.

ESPN broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit joined the chorus of voices on Thursday evening.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit said on ESPN radio, as transcribed by the good folks at TMZ. “Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

He backed up what he said on Thursday night with this on Twitter on Friday.

I’m starting to think he’s right. I’m actually not sure there’s going to be sports at all for the rest of 2020. Maybe there will be. Who knows. I just don’t know how we go from “we can’t go within six feet of each other” to “let’s put 110K in the Big House on Saturday night” over the next 150 days. Does that seem feasible?

His other point, which drops that 150 number significantly, is that it’s not just an on/off switch. You have to make decisions about a lot of this stuff pretty far ahead of time to give teams and organizations enough time to be ready for September 1. That means making calls in June or July (?) about something you may or may not know a lot about. So the real timeline is, what, 100 days? Maybe fewer?

“You don’t all of the sudden come up with something in July or August and say, ‘Okay we’re good to go’ and turn ’em loose!” Herbstreit added, sounding a lot like Mike Gundy.

And again, a lot of this is about the optics. PR issues. Who’s going to be the first league or organization back? And if there’s nobody back by, say, June 1, does the Big 12 (or the NCAA or any other league) press forward? These are difficult (albeit unimportant in the grand scheme of things) calls that will have to be made.

It remains astonishing that we’re even talking about this. Me if you would have told me two months ago that the college football season would be in legit jeopardy on March 27.

But here we are.

And I’m not sure we go. I think like with everything else it’s going to be a lot of waiting and a lot of wondering. We’re planning on having an OSU administrator on our podcast (subscribe here) next week to discuss some of what’s going on and try to cut to the heart of the situation.

However, ultimately he won’t have any final answers — just like nobody else has any final answers — until the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds over the next few months and we see just how bad (or hopefully good?) things get.


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