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OU, OSU Planning on Fall Re-Open, Which is Good News for College Football Season

An optimistic outlook is being laid out by the in-state higher-ups.



The farther we get into the coronavirus pandemic, the less sure I am about anything save this: Nobody knows how the future is going to go. I was looking back at a few of the things I’d jotted down two weeks ago as it relates to my family and our church and our community here in Richardson, Texas, and laughed at how antiquated they seemed. Two weeks ago!

What might the next two months or two years hold?

Over the weekend, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both announced that they were planning on resuming on-campus classes in the fall. Here’s what OU president Joseph Harroz said.

“After careful deliberation, our intention is to return to in-person educational operations on all three campuses by this fall, offering traditional instruction and residential life. We are doing everything we can to make that realistic and safe. We are acutely aware of the certain challenges COVID-19 will present as we pursue this goal and are planning to address the issues proactively and creatively,” Harroz said in a statement.

“We are prepared to adapt instructional and housing models as appropriate to protect our community and still offer the life-changing in-person OU experience. Flexibility will be a guiding principle as we navigate the coming months, and we will ensure that our students, faculty, and staff are presented with appropriate options to return to our campuses, keeping their safety top of mind.”

No doubt OSU and OU will be in lockstep the entire way here. OSU released a (much shorter) statement a few hours after OU did, but you can basically just copy-paste the language back and forth.

This is a good thing as it pertains to college football. Nobody on campus means CFB is pretty much a non-starter no matter what Mike Gundy says. Here’s what he said at the beginning of April.

“I’ve also heard comments about, ‘Can you play a football season when you don’t have students on campus going to school?’ Sure you can,” Gundy said. “We are doing distance learning right now. All of our players are doing distance learning right now. The professors are doing an excellent job. I’ve jumped in on Zoom on different classes. I jumped in on a Finance class this morning and I jumped in on an ag class the other day. I was on there with the professor and the students. They are doing great. Technology allows us to do this.”

Technology is surely a beacon for universities during this bizarre time, but it’s not going to shoehorn a college football season into existence. That’s why students going back to campus is big for Chuba and Tylan running rampant in Boone Pickens Stadium at some point later in 2020. Students returning to campus is a harbinger for CFB actually happening.

A fall semester would be the first re-entry point for Oklahoma State, which canceled its on-campus summer activities. Because of those summer cancelations, it’s a near-certainty that the CFB season — if it is played — would be delayed because of what a short runway you would have to get players ready for an end-of-August start date (OSU’s first game is Sept. 3). Still, a delayed CFB season is (a lot!) better than no CFB season at all, and it might be a necessity to keeping some FBS athletic departments afloat.

So while all of this could change an hour or a day or a week after I post it — and it does seem a bit ambitious for campuses to just … re-open — the trajectory right now appears to be that OSU and OU will be teeming with (socially-distanced?) students come August. They might not get to revel in victories in person over at BPS, but their existence in Stillwater will go a long way in determining whether there are victories at BPS to be celebrated at all.

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