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University of Michigan President casts doubt on having college athletics this fall

Dr. Mark Schlissel says the Wolverines won’t have football this fall unless all students are back on campus

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel speaks at a news conference announcing the resignation of Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon in the Regents Room of the Fleming Administration Building October 31, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Score one for those that think college football might not happen this season, as University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel casts some doubt on having football being played this fall.

A medical doctor and member of the American Association of Immunologists since 1992, he told the Wall Street Journal he believes there is “some degree of doubt as to whether there will be college athletics [anywhere], at least in the fall.”

If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan,” Schlissel told reporters Melisas Korn and Laine Higgins.

And, Schlissel added, he had “some degree of doubt as to whether there will be collegiate athletics (anywhere), at least in the fall.”

Schlissel’s comments come as two other Big Ten institutions, Illinois (June 3) and Ohio State (June 8), have announced return dates for their respective football teams. Last week, the NCAA announced that its moratorium on all voluntary, in-person activities would be lifted on June 1 and allowed through the end of the month.

Having the president of one of the Big Ten’s flagship programs cast doubt on a season starting on-time is one of the bigger signs we’ve had against playing games this fall, especially one with some expertise in the field of medicine required.

For now it seems we’ll have football in the academic year 2020-21 still, as the financial implications of not playing seem too great. But what kind of season we see, and whether fans will be able to watch it from their seats, are questions that still need to be answered.