Griffith: Playing Football Without Students On Campus Could Be Problematic

Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith explains why schools desperately want students on campus this fall

The DA Show
June 22, 2020 - 10:22 am
Clemson Fans

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Last Friday, news broke that 23 Clemson football players and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. Several other programs around the country have also been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

What this means for the 2020 college football season remains to be seen.

“I think they are continuing to work through as many models as they can come up with,” Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith said on The DA Show. “There are smart people that are at these institutions, and even the people that may not have anything to do directly with sports can also play out ideas or concepts or hurdles that may be in front of the fall athletic events and also just the student body being available on campus. I think they’re working through as many models [as possible]. Flexibility is going to be the key to it all. Those that are nimble enough to turn and pivot, I think, are the ones that are going to be able to guide their institutions through this horrible pandemic.”

Colleges and universities very much want students to be on campus this fall – for many reasons.

“Three months ago or two months ago or even a month ago, I think everybody was on the same accord: if you don’t have students on campus, how can you expect the student-athletes to be on campus?” Griffith said. “But there is going to be a second wave. The first wave hasn’t disappeared or gone anywhere. So they talk about that next wave coming in the fall. That obviously affects basketball and some of the other sports during that time. They were talking about shutting down universities and sending people home before Thanksgiving. So what is going to happen with that? 

“I don’t think we really know, at least publicly,” Griffith continued. “I think they want to have the student body on campus, but I don’t think any administrators want to look at a situation where, yes, we have student-athletes on campus, but we still have distance learning taking place. I don’t know if that’s a situation they really want to have publicly. I’m sure they’ve had these conversations behind closed doors and know what they want to do. Initially, they want to be able to have the student-athletes on campus; I just don’t know if that ultimately is what’s going to play out. There’s so much money involved in what’s happening in college athletics right now.”