Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN’s Heather Dinich this week that he would like to see the college football season moved to the spring.
For the most part, college football fans around the country are cautiously optimistic that the upcoming season will be able to take place in the fall. However, that optimism is waning for Notre Dame football fans and college football fans around the country.
Earlier this month, the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced that their teams will play conference-only schedules this fall. That decision eliminated three games from Notre Dame’s football schedule: Wisconsin, Stanford, and USC.
We have also seen a few FCS conferences announce that will not play any sports in the fall. The Ivy League was the first the make that decision. The MEAC, Patriot League, CAA, and SWAC have since followed suit.
The teams that are hoping to play college football this fall have resumed their workouts and practices with increased safety protocols in place. A major part of those protocols is testing of the players and staff.
Notre Dame has been one of a handful of teams to report zero positive COVID-19 tests in their most recent round of testing. This is welcomed and encouraging news; however, there is still one major hurdle on the horizon that is worrying athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
Swarbrick spoke with ESPN senior writer Heather Dinich this week and shared his thoughts on the upcoming college football season. In that conversation, he said that he would like to see college football delayed until the spring of 2021.
Swarbrick’s main concern is protecting the health of student-athletes and team staff when the rest of the student body returns to campus for the start of the fall semester.
In his interview with Heather Dinich, Swarbrick said, “I’d like to start a little later. The value of starting later is you really get to see how your university has done. You have the benefit of all of that information and knowledge, and so I’d like to start a little later.”
Essentially, Swarbrick just wants additional time to evaluate the impact of Notre Dame students returning to campus. He does not want any potential gaps or oversights in the University’s safety protocols to negatively impact the football team.
Notre Dame was one of the first colleges to announce that they would be welcoming students back to campus and holding in-person classes in the fall.
All freshmen at Notre Dame, including student-athletes, must live in the residence halls on campus. Freshmen on the football team have been regularly tested over the summer, but their roommate(s) may have never been tested for COVID-19. In the eyes of the athletic director, that presents a big risk.
There is still plenty of news to come later this month. The ACC, Big 12, and SEC still need to make a final decision on schedules for their fall sports. Irish fans are eagerly awaiting the ACC’s decision as Notre Dame currently has six ACC opponents on their schedule.