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Lunch Links assesses the landscape

Kirk Ferentz was on Dan Patrick Show, which offers a reason to look at some of the COVID-19 Contingency Plans

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AT&T Audience Network Celebrates the “Religion of Sports” Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for DirecTV

Kirk Ferentz joined the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, which we’ll get to in a minute, to discuss COVID-19 response and old-timiness. Given the nature of the show, it was light on Hawk-specific news and more wide-ranging.

I wanted to lead with this bit of news out of the Big XII, where Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor layed out seven different options. Per, (my one-word review, lacking nuance, in parentheses):

  • Starting the season as scheduled in early September (optimistic)
  • Starting the season in late September and ending games in December (conceivable)
  • Starting the season in October and playing a conference-only schedule (reasonable)
  • Starting the season in September and playing a conference-only schedule (silly)
  • Waiting until 2021 and starting the season in January (cold)
  • Waiting until 2021 and starting the season in March (insanity)
  • Splitting up the season with six games in the fall and six games in the spring (chaotic)

Taylor has his own opinions on some of these, which I recommend clicking the link for, but one item which didn’t quite click for me regarding any schedule changes: logistics. If these games are moved, currently scheduled hotel plans become obsolete. It probably gets easier if fans are not allowed into stadiums, though there are scenarios to envision where a team’s normal plans are thrown into disarray.

Now the fun stuff:

Patrick jumps RIGHT INTO the timeline for when Ferentz expects players back. To his credit, he sticks to the line he’s drawn since his first public appearance: 6 weeks minimum, 8 weeks is preferred ahead of a football season. That’d put Iowa at July 5th with 8 weeks plus the game week ahead of UNI.

The reason DP asked was obvious: Bruce Harreld’s presser last week raised some huff on Twitter with the target of June 1st to have student-athletes on campus:

When Patrick poses the either/or regarding starting on time with no fans or starting 6 weeks late with fans, Kirk leans towards starting on time with no fans. He mentions the second bullet above: sliding back 3-4 weeks late and fit a full season in, though it may bump up against finals. Six seemed a little untenable for him.

He does mention the “sterile” nature a fanless game would have and likens it to scrimmages which take place at the stadium with players, coaches, and refs.

If fans are not allowed during those first six weeks, Iowa would lose on four of their seven home games. Their road contests during that time period are Minnesota (on Friday) and Ohio State. It’s too far out to understand how “no fans” would or wouldn’t affect the players other than it will be weird as hell.

The topic shifts towards: what happens if some schools can go while others can’t (or choose not to). Ferentz brought it up a little earlier and it would make sense if a school like Rutgers, just outside of the virus’ epicenter, is still closed off for any gathering greater than 10 people come September. He calls it a “possibility but hopefully not a likelihood.”

One change in mindset Brett McMurphy reported on is the normal student body will not be required for student-athletes to be on campus.

In the linked piece, it highlights the need for football to sustain athletic programs. If only student-athletes are on campus, playing games in front of no fan presence, in leagues where only majorities are allowed to play, it becomes easier and easier to justify the student-athletes as employees.

It’s a topic for a different day, to be sure, but one worth having.

To close this loop, we’ll know in July if college football is going to move ahead as scheduled. Nobody is going to make this decision prematurely.

My personal preference? Move it to January to increase the likelihood of fans attending as states improve their testing infrastructure and give a longer runway for an immunization to get produced to those involved. It’d probably require some restructuring of the next season so 24 games aren’t played within 11 months. (maybe November 2022?) College football just needs fans.

Ultimately, we don’t know!

But this bit of news broke just after I summarized above!

The Ferentz interview transitioned to lighter discussion:

  • Does Iowa develop TEs or tackles better? (tight ends, imo)
  • Tristan Wirfs love.
  • Pittsburgh discussion!
  • “How close were you to leaving for the Browns in ‘08?”
  • Kirk Ferentz playing Iowa nice by not correcting Dan Patrick about being Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator in Baltimore

Gary Barta also met with the Hawkeye beat. Here are a couple readouts. When is someone going to ask him about being chair of the College Football Playoff Committee and what they’re working through?

Other links