Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Play ball?

All we know about West Virginia University’s 2020 football season is that the Mountaineers will not play Florida State in Atlanta this month and the September date with Maryland in Morgantown has been nixed by the Big 10, of which Maryland is a member. The game with Florida State was also lost because the ACC will not allow its members to play games against out of conference members outside of their home state. That one raises a flag for me. With that reasoning, Florida State could play conference foe Georgia Tech in Atlanta, but not WVU. Oh well.

By the time this column is finished some clarity may be known as to what the Big 12 plans to do. As I sit at the keyboard, school presidents are preparing to meet and reportedly fill in the blanks of what direction they will take. It is thought that West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons is looking to fill the vacancies on the WVU schedule. Contingent, I’m sure, on tonight’s meeting.

“We are probably looking for a home game,” Lyons said. “We have to be able to see what the council of presidents will do. If you look at the other Autonomy five conferences, there has been a delay in the start of the season. I don’t know for sure what our presidents will do on Monday night. So I don’t want to get ahead of myself. But I have been contacted by a number of institutions interested in playing.”

“We entered this week still wanting to play all 12 games. We understand that the conference portion is very important and we have to make sure that we get that right,” Lyons said. “With other athletic directors, I do think that they are optimistic they will play starting September 5.”

That’s certainly a positive for those who are anxious for Mountaineer football this fall. I would advise to guard your optimism because with all the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, college football could vanish without notice.

Another part of the plan to play football this fall is determining how many fans will be allowed to attend? “At one time, we were hoping to be at least 50%. But with the way things are right now, I don’t think that is going to be an option. If we go to social distancing, we are probably looking at 20 to 25% capacity. We have a few weeks until we have to make sure of that question.”

At 25% that would allow roughly 15,000 fans to attend games and likely require the athletic department to tell some season ticket holders they won’t be able to attend games.