How long does it take to get an “amateur” football team ready to play? According to the coaches and athletic directors on the NCAA Football Oversight Committee, about six weeks.
Sources: The NCAA football oversight committee met today. They are heading toward recommending a six-week preseason football camp model for this season. In the next week, they’re going to determine in the granular what that could look like before formally recommending it.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) May 29, 2020
So what does this mean for college football? That’s to be determined. If games are going to be played on-time this year, it would mean training camp for most teams will start in late July. Opening weekend for most teams is Labor Day weekend, with 12 FBS teams playing on August 29th. A six-week camp for those teams would mean beginning on July 18th.
But the problem with college football is that each school is its own entity, so the amount of people that need to sign off on on a team returning to campus and practice is extensive. You need the governor of your state, the Board of Trustees (always worried about any potential legal action), the university president, a local mayor or county commission, as well as your athletic conference to all be on board. And that’s before the players potentially might object to part of your return procedures.
And it’s not a great look for high-level administrators if the regular students aren’t allowed on campus, but the student-athletes that bring in dollars to fund your nine-figure sports department are doing 9-on-7 drills. But coaches want to coach, and it’s likely that a longer training camp can help make sure players will be safer on the field once actual games begin.
The Football Oversight Committee is not legislative and can only make recommendations to the full Division I Council, but their requests carry some weight. How much a group that consists mostly of football coaches holds sway over a policy-making body in the Council will be interesting, as the assessment of risk between the two might vary greatly.
As with everything else related to college sports in a post-Covid-19 world, we’ll just have to wait and see.