Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is convinced there will be a college football season, and he believes it will start as scheduled.
That is a much more optimistic sentiment than he felt one month ago about the hurdles the sport was facing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm bullish about our opportunity, and more so than I was 30 days ago," Bowlsby told reporters on a video call after the conclusion of the conference's board of directors spring business meetings. "... And I hope I'm even more so 30 days henceforth."
Bowlsby said teams need to return to practice by mid-July for games to begin on the Aug. 29 starting date. A six-week preseason camp is being discussed, and the NCAA Football Oversight Committee is expected to recommend such a time period.
"It may get shoved around a little bit, but I think it's probably pretty close to what we'll end up with," Bowlsby said.
TCU chancellor Victor Boschini, the chair of the board of directors, shares Bowlsby's zest per the season beginning on time. However, he is deeply concerned by the prospect of football stadiums being less than half filled.
"It's going to be a huge hit, and in general we're losing money by the minute in every area because of this," Boschini said. "By May 30 ... we'll lose about $50 million on our campus for different reasons because of COVID-19, but as far as how we're going to make it up, we're scrambling to do that right now. We're cutting costs everywhere."
The challenges that could arise during a season were also discussed. Bowlsby said a group of Big 12 athletic directors are working on hypothetical situations and how to respond to them.
"How do you safeguard the game officials?" Bowlsby said. "How do you make sure they're properly tested and known to be negative before they're coming in contact with players?
"How do you take care of the sideline personnel and essential game management people? Do you allow bands on the field? On the road games, do you allow pep bands to come, or are we going to embargo that for a period of time? Do cheerleaders have to have masks on? ... Those kinds of things are the things this group of athletic directors is working on."
Also of concern is a possible second wave of the coronavirus, including the possibility of a team being unable to play due to too many infections.
"Those kinds of things are going to have to be dealt with in real time," Bowlsby said, "but we have to do scenario-planning in advance or we're not going to be ready for them."
--Field Level Media