University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins told a local radio stadium on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the school to play college football this fall — at least not on schedule.

Arizona college football
The president of the University of Arizona says college football is unlikely to start on time in the fall. (Image: Christian Petersen/Getty)

Robbins didn’t rule out a delayed start, and even floated the possibility that schools might play fall sports alongside spring sports in early 2021.

School Presidents Waiting on NCAA, Conference Guidance

Robbins made his comments to KVOI-AM in Tucson, Arizona, saying that it may be difficult for college sports to get back to normal in the near future.

“I’m really concerned about whether we’re going to be playing football in the fall,” Robbins told KVOI. “We’re waiting to see what the NCAA does, what the Pac-12 does. As much as I want it, you know, it just seems as though if we do play any football in the fall, it’s going to be delayed because I’ve heard nothing and we’re headed to May 1. My hope is we’re going to get some clarity on this very soon, but it seems unlikely to me.”

Those comments were in line with statements from University of Connecticut President Tom Katsouleas, who spoke to a UConn journalism class via teleconference on Tuesday. UConn athletic officials were quick to point out that they have not yet made any decisions about fall sports. Katsouleas later clarified that he was offering an opinion based on his expectations.

“This was not based on any inside knowledge or discussions on the subject, and was nothing more than speculation,” Katsouleas said, via ESPN.com. “No decisions have been made about fall sports and when they are made, we will look to the NCAA and our conference to take the lead on those choices.”

College Football Could Move to Spring Schedule

In the interview, Robbins said that the University of Arizona does plan to hold classes in person in the fall semester. However, that’s only a first step toward getting college sports back on track, not a guarantee that schools can play games. That’s why he says another plan is under consideration.

“What I’ve been hearing more of is that maybe doing something combining both basketball and football for the spring, so January-February 2021, and try to play both of them,” Robbins told the radio station. “There will be all kind of implications for television viewing and confusion. I don’t know. We just don’t have any answers right now.”

Universities and colleges face the same kinds of uncertainty currently plaguing the professional sports world. None of the major American sports leagues have yet to set even a prospective date for returning, though the PGA Tour is targeting June for a return to holding golf tournaments. When those sports do return, they will almost certainly do so without fans, as has happened in the first Asian baseball leagues to resume play in recent weeks.

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