Last week ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was a guest on On the Call with Jeff Rimmer. He was asked about a number of topics relating to Clemson and college football. The interesting part about that is how much his thoughts have changed from March til now.
Back in March Herbstreit was asked about whether he thought we would see college football in 2020 on an ESPN radio show and he caught a lot of flack for his thoughts on it.
“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” Herbstreit said. “Just because, from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [COVID-19] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”
“Next thing you know you got a locker room full of guys that are sick. And that’s on your watch? I wouldn’t want to have that,” he said. “As much as I hate to say it, I think we’re scratching the surface of where this thing’s gonna go.”
A month later Herbstreit was trying to clarify those comments and claiming that he did not mean that there would be no football, and now that tune has completely changed.
“I’m very optimistic that we are going to see… some effort to have a season, Herbstreit told Jeff Rimmer. “It’s really changed… if you would have asked me that three weeks ago, I would have said man I feel I great. This thing is going in a great direction. But as you watch the news and follow this thing, you see spikes all over the place.”
Unlike professional sports leagues, college sports do not have one person overseeing everything. College athletics relies on the NCAA, a governing body, the NCAA doesn’t really govern college football. Not the Power-5 schools anyways.
“I don’t know if protests contributed to this or people not necessarily fearing the virus, but I think a laissez-faire attitude has really affected things. We don’t have a Roger Goodell in college football. You have the NCAA, which is not really even a governing body over college football, so you have to rely on the Power Five commissioners.”
Guidelines change from state to state. We are even seeing cities enact their own ordinances across the country. Each area has their own set of circumstances and that makes things much less clear.
“I’m near Clemson right now at a lake, and whatever the rules are in this area are different than what they are for citizens in Columbus, Tallahassee, Eugene, Austin… it’s just very different than just a czar commissioner saying July 31st here’s what we are doing— you can’t do that. And because of that, it creates a lot of doubt. Maybe some teams don’t field teams this year. I’m still trying to stay optimistic, but there are red flags.”