NCAA president Mark Emmert doesn’t think sports can begin until all students are on campus


There’s no definitive answer on when college sports can return, but on Friday night, NCAA president Mark Emmert said he doesn’t think they can come back until all students are back on campus. Emmert doesn’t think schools can restart their athletics programs while hosting online-only classes.

“College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college (campuses) open and having students on them,” Emmert said in a discussion on the NCAA’s Twitter account. “You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body.

“That doesn’t mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you’ve got to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. So if a school doesn’t re-open, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”

Emmert also said that school presidents and conference commissioners he has talked to are in agreement with him on the matter. That would mean he hasn’t spoken to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who told Stadium earlier this week that “going to class in an online sense is satisfactory.”

It’s hard to imagine every school and every conference being in lockstep agreement on what’s best for them to do and how to handle the situation — try getting five strangers to agree on what they want to have for dinner and then imagine doing it with 130. There’s a genuine chance that some conferences could begin play before others, which Emmert also addressed. 

He said that scheduling inequities resulting from the coronavirus could be discussed during the fall if needed because “we would much rather relax some of those competitive-equity issues than ever put a young man or young woman at risk, physically or mentally.”

In other words, at a time when the world wants definitive answers about when and where their normal lives can resume, nobody has any.





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