Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock: "Never Say Never" On College Football Games Without Fans

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomas1996 | Apr 09, 2020
Photo Credit: Jake Roth

Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock addressed the media yesterday in his first media session since the coronavirus pandemic brought the college sports world to a halt.

One of the biggest questions is whether the upcoming college football season will happen on time, delayed, or at all; and whether fans will be allowed to be in attendance to see those.

The question of whether fans will be attendance has been a flash point for sporting restart debates across the country especially college sports, where campuses are usually bustling with students, many of whom attend these games. However, with the potential for campuses to open the fall empty depending on the situation of the coronavirus pandemic, it raises the possibility for a college football season that is played with no fans for at least a portion of it.

However, though Whit Babcock won't rule out the possibility of playing college football games without fans and students in attendance, he also sees that as a very unlikely scenario in part because of what it could imply about the health risks at that time.

"I would never say never because we were going to play the NCAA Tournament without any fans, but I would have to lean towards, if it’s not safe enough for fans and students to come back, I would have a hard time operating a football game under that premise," Babcock said.

As Babcock mentioned, we did see plans for NCAA Championships to happen without fans put in place early on along with many basketball conference tournaments briefly being played behind closed doors (or at least attempted to) before being shut down.

Given all that and how rapidly evolving everything seems to be nowadays, Whit Babcock isn't ready to rule out playing games without fans or a delay to the college football season if the conditions aren't right for playing college football.

"If I have learned nothing else, I would say that things change very rapidly, so that’s not off the table but I believe we would look at pushing the season back, starting it later rather than what you just said."

For now though, all of this is still up in the air as we all continue to try to minimize the toll of the present COVID-19 pandemic crisis and prepare a plan to prevent a resurgence once this first wave of the disease is over while opening doors for a return to normal life.