A survey of FBS ADs found near unanimous agreement that some sort of football season will happen at some point during the 2020-21 academic year, though the timing and the form of said season remains anyone’s guess.
The survey, conducted by Stadium, revealed a creeping optimism that some sort of season gets played. A similar survey conducted on March 31 found that every AD believed at that time that a season would be played, though close to 20 percent placed their confidence level at 50/50.
Of course, such optimism can be attributed to three weeks’ worth of data about how brutal life would be without a football season. The coronavirus pandemic has already devastated budgets across the college sports landscape, and that’s without a canceled football season. The survey also comes as states have announced plans to reopen their economies, and universities have begun to articulate plans on how to safely resume on-campus instruction in the fall.
A plurality (41 percent) believes we’ll have a 12-game season beginning in October or November, while 24 percent believe the season will start as scheduled and 20 percent think the season will be reduced to a conference-only schedule beginning in October. Of note: 23 percent of Power 5 ADs believe that option will happen compared to 18 percent of Group of 5 ADs; a season that saw guaranteed games canceled would be especially harsh on Group of 5 budgets.
Only 11 percent of FBS ADs foresee a season starting in the spring.
When asked if they found their optimism growing, shrinking or remaining static in regards to an as-scheduled season, the pessimistic group grew by four percent over the optimistic group. However, among Power 5 ADs, a total of 10 percent are now more optimistic they than they were in March, while Group of 5 ADs are collectively 17 percent less optimistic.