College football season could be shortened, report says


The 2020 SEC championship game could be completed before Thanksgiving, according to a report Wednesday by The New York Times. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)AP

The 2020 college football season could be shortened so that conference championship games would be completed by Thanksgiving, according to a report Wednesday by The New York Times.

NCAA president Mark Emmert met with members of Congress via conference call Wednesday to discuss contingency plans in relation to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to the report. The news came as college football players began returning to campus for the first time since March to participate in strength & conditioning workouts.

Emmert told House members that the season would begin as scheduled on Labor Day weekend if local health guidelines allow it. Teams typically play their final regular-season game on Thanksgiving weekend, with conference championship games the first week of December.

However, with a “second wave” of COVID-19 feared as weather turns cold, there appears to be urgency to finish the season earlier than normal. Several schools are planning to return to on-campus classes this fall, but cease in-person instruction following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Decisions on college football regular-season and postseason scheduling ultimately lies with the individual conference commissioners and school presidents, not with the NCAA. Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, told The Times that national semifinals and the national championship game are “planning to play on schedule” in January.