Hot Reads: ADs Weigh In on Likelihood of Football in 2020
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Hot Reads: ADs Weigh In on Likelihood of Football in 2020

April 23, 2020

Let's hear from the ADs again, shall we?

Back at the start of the month Brett McMurphy of Stadium reached out to all 130 FBS athletic directors to rank their optimism on the upcoming season being played. That informal (and anonymous) poll provided some interesting results, depending upon how you wanted to frame them.

For this update, 114 of the 130 ADs responded. They were presented with six scenarios for the 2020 college football season, and the responses broke down as follows:

12-game schedule starting in Oct./Nov. – 41%
Season stars as scheduled – 24%
Conference-only schedule starting in Oct./Nov. – 20%
12-game schedule starting in the spring – 11%
Conference-only schedule starting in the spring – 3%
No college football in 2020–21 – 1%

You can head over to to see those votes broken out by Power 5 and Group of 5 ADs. One from the P5 category provided the pull-quote material this time around:

“There’s too much money at stake, it impacts too many people,” a Power Five AD said. “If there’s no football, we will have bigger issues. This will be worse than the Great Depression and make the 1930s look like a cakewalk.”

Now, I'm really not a fan of comparisons like this. Invoke the Great Depression and you've created a boogeyman that reads as "bad" for everyone––are you picturing one of the photos from the Farn Security Administration right now?––but offers no real information, no actual basis for comparison. The takeaway here is just meant to be that not having football would be worse than bad, which, if enough people feel that way, makes it slightly easier to make a borderline decision to play and that's the objective anyway.

I need better analogies.

That said, I think the first part of the quote is basically true. If there's football played in 2020, it will basically come down to "there's too much money at stake, it impacts too many people." The reason to do it will be because not doing it appears more unreasonable if public health is but one of your concerns. That's not particularly satisfying reasoning, but it seems clear at this point that getting some sort of all-clear before the fall is highly unlikely.

Both options here––play, don't play––offer risk. The new numbers from McMurphy and Stadium show that the ADs are willing to make some concessions due to that risk––delay the start, reduce the number of games, move to spring––but not playing isn't one of those concessions at this point.

The Grab Bag

  • Really good column from Jacob Padilla here on family and sports.
  • WR/TE is No. 8 on Derek Peterson’s countdown of the most intriguing Huskers for 2020. (Premium)
  • Here’s the latest installment in Mike Babcock’s look back at Nebraska baseball

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