The novel coronavirus pandemic has already caused the cancellation of March Madness, college baseball and the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which would have occurred in August.
Some analysts believe it will impact the college football schedule, potentially leading to an abbreviated schedule (teams play on conference games) or even worse.
In fact, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit thinks college football won’t be played at all this season. There are a few trends that could push things in this direction, like the fact that the peak of the virus won’t hit until May or June in many states in middle America, and that even if it simmers down in the summer, it could always flare up again in the fall when the weather turns cold again.
But has Razorback football coach Sam Pittman thought about this depressing possibility?
“No, absolutely not. I haven’t thought about it one time,” Pittman said Tuesday on the Buzz 103.7. “I don’t know if my mind won’t let me think about it, but we have to stay in shape, we have to do the right things. The country needs college football.”
Pittman is also a realist. He knows, in the big scheme of things, sacrificing college football would be worth saving millions of lives. President Donald Trump mentioned estimates of between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans dying this year because of the coronavirus.
And that grim scenario would be worse without intervention, with a projection of as many as 2.2 million deaths, according to White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, USA Today reported.
“Obviously we’ll do whatever they tell us to do, but we’ll also be ready whenever they tell us to go,” Pittman continued. “But that would be a sad situation. Of course I’m not comparing it to the [seriousness] of this virus by any stretch, but no, I haven’t really thought about it.”
Another possibility is that the college football would be moved up to summer to avoid the fall and winter months when another outbreak could occur.
Pittman chimed in on this seemingly crazy idea, which was torn apart in the above clip, as well:
“We’ll play it whenever they tell us to. That’s really the first I’ve heard about going earlier. But if that’s the case you have to make sure your kids are in shape and ready to go. Certainly majority injuries happen whenever you’re out of shape or you’re tired, things of that nature.”
“So we just have to make sure that our kids are in shape and I’m sure the NCAA will give us adequate amount of time to do that. And of course it will benefit the teams that have the most depth if they’re going to play those type months, when the the heat is most prevalent. So, you have to amp up your depth if that happens.”
Make sure to listen to the entire Sam Pittman interview with John Nabors and Joe Franklin on “Out of Bounds” here:
As a bonus, at the 7:30 mark, he dishes details on the story behind the time in 2014 when one of his biggest offensive linemen, Sebastian Tretola, threw a touchdown pass in a game.