Citing the NBA’s success thus far in its Walt Disney World bubble, ESPN SportsCenter anchor and college football host Kevin Negandhi said during this week’s podcast on ESPN Radio that the decision-makers in respective conferences should perhaps follow Adam Silver’s lead and check the feasibility on college football following basketball’s lead. Despite the recent surge of coronavirus cases in Florida, the NBA announced last week that its bubble was working with zero positive cases of COVID-19 based on its latest round of league-wide testing.
Neghandi’s hypothetical centered on the ACC playing all of its games in a central city, like Charlotte, three games per day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the season. Players, coaches and team personnel would come in before games and leave shortly thereafter, all while being tested in the bubble.
“I’m just throwing this on a wall, but why not play in a singular place, three games a day, and we come back each weekend and go back again,” Negandhi said Thursday.
Neghandi later asked ESPN national reporter Heather Dinich if that’s a possibility or something college football-wide athletic directors and conference commissioners have even discussed.
“Not that I’ve heard of and I think part of the reason for that is because they need the revenue for the games,” Dinich said. “That goes back to the question, ‘are fans in stands?’ That’s literally a campus by campus decision based on state and local governments in terms of capacity. There’s also huge revenue at stake. There’s a lot of schools and commissioners that are under tremendous political pressure in some places to have college football because of the value that it does bring, not only to the other sports, but those college communities that they’re located in.
“I haven’t heard that, but you know what, if there’s one voice and we need a commissioner of college football, you’ve got these ideas and I might cast a vote for you, man.”
Several conferences are reportedly following pro sports this month to get a better grasp of what’s working and what’s not in the fight against the spread of disease and improving safety for players. Major League Baseball began its season on Thursday at venues without fans and players being routinely tested before play.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said this week his league is waiting until the final hour to decide on the 2020 football season, echoing his thought process throughout spring and into summer — the virus controls the timeline and his office will take all the information it is presented with from experts before making the call.
“I haven’t put a deadline (on it), I’ve actually put dates out there,” Sankey said on College Football Live. “I wrote out the timeline way back in May and I realize how much has changed since then. We look at next week as an important milestone. The way I’ll explain it: I’ve finished 41 marathons in my life and I realize you’re going go mile by mile and we are on that journey. The challenge right now is to understand where that finish line may be.”