University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld seems quite optimistic about the return of football and other school sports.
Harreld said at a meeting of Iowa’s state board of regents Thursday that the school was targeting June 1 for sports teams to be able to practice again. That’s one of the earliest targets — if not the earliest — in a public proclamation made about the possible resumption of football and other college sports activities during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a moratorium on all team-related activities until June 1,” Harreld said of a Big Ten conference rule forbidding in-person activities through May. “And we’re ever so hopeful that this virus will be behind us at that point and we’ll be able to get back into what normally do.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Iowa is, as of April 30, thinking that practices and workouts could begin in June.
“Right now, June 1 is the date we’re going to get back to practice and here we go,” he said.
Harreld noted that he had been a part of a Big Ten meeting regarding sports earlier Thursday morning and that leaders across the conference believed that coaches would need six-to-eight weeks of practice before the start of the football season to properly prepare players.
Iowa is one of the few states that has not had a state-level stay-at-home order throughout the pandemic. As of April 29, the state had over 7,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and a per-capita infection rate inside of the top 20 in the country.
Most think the college football season could get delayed
There is absolutely no consensus when it comes to the potential start date of a college football season. Most athletic directors across the top level of college football believe the season will be delayed in some capacity, though there are varying opinions among that majority regarding the length of any delay. And even if Iowa was able to get its players back on campus and into team workouts in some capacity on June 1, it can’t start its season on time without decisions being made by others across the Big Ten and the college football landscape.
Harreld’s comments regarding June 1 came in reply to a question about the revenue impacts of football not being played with fans in attendance. On that topic, he said he’d leave that determination up to health experts if and when it needed to be figured out.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Because if we’re at that stage with this virus, we’d have to do a lot of testing with the individual players.”
Other leaders in college athletics have expressed doubts about the feasibility of a football season without fans in attendance. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said earlier in April that it would still be unsafe for players to play games without fans in attendance.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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