On Monday night, the University of Notre Dame announced its plan for the return of students to campus, and it’s a positive indicator for the potential return of football as well. In a press release, they announced a plan for students to return to campus on August 10 – earlier than usual – along with a modified fall semester schedule. For months now, University officials have said that students being on campus in the fall was a requirement for football to return as well.
Without copying and pasting the entire press release here, below are the highlights of Notre Dame’s plan as of now:
- Students return to campus the week of August 10 – two weeks earlier than expected.
- Fall break in October will not take place as normal.
- Classes will end before Thanksgiving, with students heading home earlier than usual.
- Summer sessions remain canceled.
Now the last bullet point might sound bad for football, but there was a caveat from Fr. Jenkins.
Given our focus on fully reopening for the fall semester, we cannot host many, if any, programs even during the second half of the summer session. We are considering options that will allow the return of a very small number of students in July, mainly those whose summer work is preparatory for the fall semester. Limiting the numbers of this group will allow us to devote time, energy and resources to reopen in the fall. The Provost’s Office will communicate with relevant programs about their status for the summer.
That seems to leave the door open for football players to return in July potentially. That would is right in line with the date Brian Kelly had initially stated he felt the team would need to be on campus to avoid a disruption in the 2020 schedule. Another positive sign for the return of football in the fall.
There has been endless speculation about what might happen to the schedule of all teams – assuming there is football – from schools only playing conference games to pushing the start of the season back all the way to the 2021 calendar year. At least for Notre Dame, if players return to campus in July, it fits in the timeline Kelly felt would be necessary to start the season on time still.
A lot still has to happen for there to be football in the fall and any sort of second wave of the coronavirus, which still has most of the nation under some kind of lockdown even with some states gradually reopening, could make this all a moot point.
For now though, the University at least has a plan for the return of students, and that plan is a positive sign for at least the possibility of football this fall.