The status of the 2020 college football season has been in doubt ever since spring practices were abruptly shut down in mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we are now, two months before the start of the season, and nothing has changed. The clock is ticking, and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott knows it.
"Unless we see a change in the trajectory of the spread of the virus and its impact pretty quickly, I think the situation's a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago," Scott said on the NCAA's social series.
Scott went on to say that the surge in positive coronavirus tests over the last few weeks -- the same time players returned to campuses for voluntary workouts -- has cast doubt in the mind of college football's power brokers.
"I think what we've seen over the last few weeks gives us reason to be concerned that when campuses open up, there could be real spikes and pressures on the health care system," Scott said. "From my perspective, that's really the biggest risk to college sports in the fall."
COVID-19 cases have spiked over the last two weeks, including in California and Arizona. Other states outside of the Pac-12 footprint have also set record numbers recently, including Florida and Texas, both of which saw a massive decline in cases as recently as two and three weeks ago.
The fluidity and unknown nature of this environment has prevented commissioners, athletic directors and presidents from locking in on one specific process. That mystery has made it impossible to properly plan for what's to come in the fall of 2020.
"This is a dynamic and fast-changing environment," Scott said. "We're going to need to stay flexible, and we're going to have the data and information lead us."
Scott's comments come on the heels of what SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said last month about the time frame the commissioners are operating on while preparing for the season.
"I think that's probably a late-July time period. My thinking has shifted a bit," Sankey said on the "Rich Eisen Show." "We started June 8 after a two-week oversight, diagnostic medical exam period for these voluntary activities. We'll have three or four weeks -- on the 13th of July is when a little bit more practice can begin. I think we deserve the chance to see how that progresses. I would say before we get into full-blown practice, you're going to be in that decision-making process as it relates to what happens on Labor Day weekend, which is the scheduled start of the season."
Scott recognizes that time is of the essence, and decisions have to be made quickly -- no matter what they entail.
"I think the next few weeks are going to be a defining moment."