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'I firmly believe we're going to have a season' | Del Conte, Power 5 athletic directors optimistic about fall football

With states gradually starting to lift stay-at-home guidelines, Power Five athletic directors have expressed optimism about the return of fall sports.

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas Athletic Director Chris del Conte doubled down on optimism regarding the fall sports season on Thursday morning.

While acknowledging that fallback plans for fall seasons are being discussed, del Conte stood firm in his belief that a return to normalcy by August is indeed realistic.

"I firmly believe we're going to have a season," del Conte said. "I firmly believe we're going to be able to come back and rejoice our university in September. But you have to have that optimistic view and then plan accordingly if you don't."

The current plan released by officials at the University of Texas indicates a decision on the opening of campus for the fall semester will be made by late June.

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"Sport has been integrated in each institution, so what makes you nervous about it is just the unknowns. I plan knowing that we're going to have football in the fall. I plan knowing that we're going to be able to come back and celebrate our institution," del Conte said.

Across the rest of the college football landscape, various other athletic directors took even more aggressive and optimistic stances.

In a board of regents meeting on Thursday, University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld said Hawkeye athletes are planning to resume practices June 1.

Meanwhile, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey addressed a question that's been a hot-button topic lately: What happens if a school in one state is given approval and wants to conduct its season in a normal fashion, but one of its opponents, perhaps a school in a different state, doesn't deem it safe to play?

“There is room for different conferences to make different decisions,” Sankey told 1010 XL in Jacksonville. “If there’s a couple of programs that aren’t able, does that stop everyone? I’m not sure it does, but the ability of us to stay connected will remain important.” 

Speculation about how COVID-19 will impact the college football season runs rampant each day. On Wednesday, a series of optimistic outlooks from athletic directors was the clear theme.

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