Ohio State coach Ryan Day doesn’t even want to ponder the question. In part because it’s one that can’t be answered yet, and probably not for several months as the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.
But increasingly it is one that hangs over college football: What if the 2020 season has to be canceled, or at least altered?
“I don’t know,” Day said when asked about his level of concern about the season being delayed, shortened or canceled. “I really don’t. And for me to comment on it, I would just be ignorant to what’s real and what isn’t.
“You can go down a lot of rabbit holes, and until we know for sure, I feel we’re kind of wasting energy because we don’t know.”
But Day acknowledged that it’s a legitimate concern.
“That would be awful,” he said. “But I try not to get that far down the road. (I’m) trying to just do a great job with today. I know that sounds cliche, but until we start to know more, which I'm hoping we do over the next two to three weeks, at least to forecast it out, it's hard to get that far ahead of ourselves.”
Ohio State’s spring football ended early this month after only three practices. The Woody Hayes Athletic Center is closed. Players are scattered throughout the country, and coaches are doing their business online from home.
If the pandemic ends sooner rather than later, Day hopes that some of those missed spring practices can be made up in the summer, assuming the NCAA allows flexibility in its rules. Day said that he and head strength coach Mickey Marotti would have to determine the proper way to ramp up to safeguard player health and safety.
“There's probably some studies that need to be done on that,” Day said.
A return to practice in the summer might be the best-case scenario. The worst is that the pandemic affects the season itself, and it’s a question that athletic directors and administrators across the country may be forced to face.
“Concern is too strong at this point for me,” Boston College athletic director Martin Jarmond said about the possibility of the season being imperiled. “But there is a heightened awareness to the possibility of an altered timeline to training camp and how that may impact the season.”
For now, Day is going about business as usual as much as possible. He has enough on his plate trying to oversee a team under these circumstances. To him, thinking about a doomsday scenario for the football season is wasted time.
“I try the best I can not to do that,” he said. “Now when it's appropriate and we need to forecast and plan for something, then I think we do that. But there are just so many things that could happen, and you can stress yourself out worrying about it when maybe it doesn't even happen.
“So certainly pray and hope that this (pandemic) starts to flatten out soon, and we'll just solve it from there.”