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College Football Season Will Be Impacted By Coronavirus, Ohio State President Says

The Ohio State University President Michael Drake speaks during a vigil Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, following an attack on campus the previous day.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
The Ohio State University President Michael Drake.

Ohio State University president Michael Drake said the upcoming football season will likely see changes because of coronavirus.

Drake, who serves as the chairman of the NCAA’s board of governors, said in an interview on WOSU's All Sides with Ann Fisher that the organization will have a better sense in a month or so as to when college football can start.

“We’re not assuming, necessarily, that the season is going to start and be like last season was, that’s not at all a given,” Drake said. “We are not also thinking that there won’t be a season.”

Drake said he is having daily conversations about how the college football season could be impacted by COVID-19, and schools are considering a range of options that would be safe for fans, athletes and coaches. He didn't rule out having games with games without spectators in the stadiums.

"Whatever it is next year, it won’t be the same as it was last year,” Drake said. “One scenario has it being changed in smallish ways. Security and hygiene kind of ways. On the other edge, it’s not safe to do it all. In between, one could imagine different kinds of contests that could take place and are engaging and safe. I’m sure that could be created.”

The university has canceled all on-campus events until July 6. The Buckeyes were forced to end spring football last month after a handful of practices.

Ohio State is slated to start the 2020 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. The football team starts its fall training camp in early August. 

Last month, in his role with the NCAA, Drake had to grapple with the cancelation of the NCAA basketball tournaments.

"We had to make the decision to cancel the March Madness. That was a big decision for the organization that affects all colleges," Drake said, "We have 1,100 member organizations and that decision affected all 1,100 and that decision we had to make in one day."

The NCAA canceled all spring sports and granted an additional year of eligibility to athletes who would have been seniors this spring.

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