The status of the 2020 college football season hangs in the balance due to the shelter-in-place orders that exist in virtually every community in the United States due to the coronavirus. One prominent decision maker isn't too keen on it starting in anytime soon.
Dr. Robert C. Robbins, president of the University of Arizona and one of the football program's most prominent supporters, doesn't expect the season to begin on time and thinks there's a chance it may not be played at all in 2020.
"We are waiting to see what the NCAA does and what the Pac-12 does," Robbins said on "The Buckmaster Show" in Tucson, Arizona. "As much as I want it, it just seems as though, if we do play any football in the fall, it's going to be delayed. I've heard nothing. We're headed to May 1.
"My hope is that we are going to get some clarity on this very soon. It seems unlikely to me. I'd love to see it happen. But we are waiting every day to get some guidance."
Robbins confirmed on the radio show that the school does intend to hold classes in person for fall semester. That is one of the major hurdles that needs to be cleared in order for the sport to return either as scheduled or at some point during the fall.
This is noteworthy for several reasons. Robbins isn't an athletic director. He's a school president. They are the ones who have to take the first step toward returning their campuses to normalcy before administrators in athletic departments even have a say in the matter of playing sports. After all, if students aren't allowed on college campuses, there can't be college football.
Robbins is also well-schooled on what it takes to be a high-level football player. According to Tucson.com, he played quarterback in high school and planned on walking on at Ole Miss before suffering a knee injury that ended his playing career.
Robbins is also a doctor who graduated with a medical degree from Ole Miss and received cardiothoracic surgery training at Stanford University Hospital. He later worked at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health with congenital heart fellowships at the Emory University School of Medicine and Royal Children's Hospital.
Though Robbins is obviously not an epidemiologist, and he therefore isn't necessarily up to speed on exactly what's happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, he's more qualified than most university administrators in the field of medicine, which makes his insight noteworthy.
Will there be football in the fall? There are several steps that need to be taken before that even becomes a possibility. For now, at least one prominent decison maker doesn't see it happening on time.