ARIZONA FOOTBALL

AD intends for Arizona to play college football season; Sumlin prepares

May 14, 2020, 3:39 PM | Updated: May 15, 2020, 7:58 am
Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the first half of...
Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

University of Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke spoke a word of determination on Thursday in a virtual media availability.

Heeke said that the school’s “full intention” is to play college football this fall. His comments were followed by head football coach Kevin Sumlin saying in the afternoon that the team is discussing preparedness strategies and building contingencies for the fluid situation.

“None of us know what the college football season will entail at this point,” Heeke said, according to the Tucson Star. “There are numerous hypotheticals and ideas out there. We’re focused on trying to preserve a complete season of football, or as many games as possible. That’s critical not only to the economic health of the University of Arizona, but all of college athletics at the Power 5 level.”

“It’s very important to the overall economic health of college athletics. Without college football, it would be devastating.”

Sumlin said guidelines handed down from state and school leaders meant adaptations to the coronavirus pandemic frequently change.

“Our first and foremost concern is what are we going to do for the safety of our student athletes off campus, whatever we can do right now, but certainly when they return to campus, what does that look like and what is our preparedness level?” Sumlin said. “We’ve had that conversation with our players, we’ll continue to have that conversation with players, with campus. If you had asked me this question even Monday, it would’ve changed based on our governor’s press conference yesterday or two days ago. So it changes constantly and … what we need to do changes constantly with that.”

Even if the college football season doesn’t start on time, it’s possible that it gets played but on a timeline that’s later than normal. Cal head coach Justin Wilcox acknowledged that it has been discussed, although there are logistical hurdles to clear for that to happen.

“We are always in action in gaining information and there’s going to be a time that we’re going to be able to come back and get together and [we’re] fully intent on playing this season,” Wilcox said. “How we get to that point, daily, it changes. When do we come back, how we start working out together. But every intention is to do that.

“Everybody wants to play. Everybody’s intent on playing as many games as we can, a full schedule if we’re able, and if things change along the way as Kevin said, then we’ll need to adjust.”

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AD intends for Arizona to play college football season; Sumlin prepares