Some signs say yes, others, say no when it comes to when or if the 2020 Rutgers football season will happen.
Football is such a small piece of society. Yet it remains an important part of many people’s lives. A return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic will be welcomed by all, especially football fans. In particular, the Rutgers faithful are looking forward to the Greg Schiano Era 2.0. When that happens is up in the air, and the signals are mixed.
The balancing act all sports have to work out is playing games while keeping everyone safe from coronavirus. College sports have a unique set of circumstances because their athletes are also part of their school’s enrollment. Not only do the players need to be safe, so does the general student population.
With every positive sign about Rutgers return to action, there seems to be a negative one that follows. The NCAA announced student-athletes could resume sports activities as of June 1. All Power-5 conferences have all announced that teams may begin to bring athletes back for workouts. Specifically, the Big Ten has lifted their suspension of football and basketball activities in conjunction with the NCAA’s return date. At the same time, the conference hasn’t decided just yet if there will be a 2020 football season. They intend to take the issue up at their annual meeting on June 7.
Almost every Big Ten school, including Rutgers, is formulating a plan to bring their players back to campus. Almost every school. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel told the Wall Street Journal that there would be no football for the Wolverines until the campus reopens for all students. Schlissel went on to say he was doubtful that any college football would be played in 2020.
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More mixed signals came from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Tuesday, he announced that professional teams are allowed to reopen their facilities and train on a limited basis. On Wednesday, he was a guest on WFAN’s Moose and Maggie. In a change of direction, the governor said he could see a scenario where the Giants and Jets could have fans in the stands during their games at MetLife Stadium.
When it comes to the Scarlet Knights, Murphy said he hasn’t been in contact with the university president or AD Pat Hobbs (although he does text with Schiano). Further, any return will rely on local guidance and the Big Ten. An eloquent way of passing the buck.
Schiano can make a plan to bring the players back to campus, but it doesn’t guarantee Rutgers will play a game this season. Meanwhile, the coach keeps recruiting high profile talent for 2021, which might be when the Scarlet Knights retake the field.