Several of the biggest university chains in Texas are planning to be open in the fall and expecting to play football, according to the Texas Tribune.
Texas A&M reportedly told the 11 presidents of system universities that the plan is to accept students back to campus in the fall and play sports. Six Texas A&M system universities play football, including the flagship university in College Station, Prairie View A&M, Texas A&M-Commerce and Tarleton State, which is in the process of transitioning to Division-I.
Additionally, Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec announced that the the campus will be open in the fall, though with some added regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The university plans to play sports. There hasn’t been an announcement about whether Texas Tech system member Angelo State will follow suit, but following the Lubbock university’s guidelines are likely.
On Thursday afternoon, TCU became the next major university to announce that classes will start as scheduled in the fall on Aug. 24.
The announcements mean several of the biggest players in the state are moving in the right direction. The two major public universities join Baylor and SMU as universities that have committed to being open in the fall. The biggest domino, though – the University of Texas system – has yet to make an official decision. However, system chancellor James Milliken expressed optimism to the Texas Tribune on Thursday that campuses will be open.
Although the announcements are a step in the right direction for football resuming in the fall, they should also be taken with a grain of salt.
All of these plans are fully contingent on COVID-19 not spiking in the coming weeks as Texas begins to open the state back up. We’ll get our first data on those efforts in the next week, as a few non-essential businesses start opening on May 1. It’s also no coincidence that universities are projecting forward right now – many are simply hoping to alleviate student concerns so students will re-enroll in the fall. Student shortfalls would be devastating to student budgets.
Additionally, even if football returns this fall, there’s no guarantee of what it could look like. We could be facing stadiums with no fans, shortened schedules, limiting travel, or any number of other additional stipulations to limit the spread of the virus. Additionally, states across the country will have to be on the same page for the sport to come back.
Regardless, planning for a fall return to campus is the first step in college football returning. With four months remaining until the season is scheduled to kick off, any good news counts.
This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.