Miami Hurricanes AD Blake James expects season to start on-time without fans

Miami Hurricanes athletic director Blake James said he expects the 2020 college football season to start on-time but without fans during an appearance on the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM on Wednesday.

During an appearance on the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM on Wednesday, Miami Hurricanes athletic director Blake James stated he expects the 2020 college football season to start on-time but without fans. Miami is scheduled to kick off the 2020 season against Temple September 5 at Hard Rock Stadium.

The opener against the Owls is the first time since Miami hosted the Florida Atlantic Owls in 2013 the Hurricanes are beginning the season at home against an FBS team. The Miami Hurricanes played against LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to begin the 2018 season and at Camping World Stadium versus Florida in 2019.

James went into detail about how the 2020 college football season might evolve and when the Miami Hurricanes athletes will be able to begin working out in the discussion with Rose as transcribed by Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald. With the season still more than three months away contingencies are evolving.

James told Rose that his gut feeling is that the season begins without fans in the stands. That is consistent with University of Miami President Julio Frenk who has the same expectation of games without fans as stated last month in numerous media appearances. James also mentions he expects voluntary workouts to begin June 15.

“My gut today is we start on time probably without fans in the stands’…And, again, that could all change, because look at it. We’re not even three months from March 12, when this all hit, and we’re still three months away from September 5th when our first game is to be played, so to say what it’s going to look like on Sept. 5th I think is difficult.

With that said, to answer your question, I think we’ll be playing a 12-game in 13 weeks schedule starting on time and that’s our plan right now. We’re in daily conversations, it feels like, as a league. (ACC)”

I have the opportunity to work with a few of our other athletic directors and a few of our coaches on a football-specific committee that is modeling all different sorts of scenarios and communication with the NCAA on how we propose things.

From seven-games schedules in seven weeks…to starting as late as November. So, there has been a lot of thought put into it. I think it would be great (to be able to have a limited number of fans. There have been proposals from 15-30,000 fans could attend Hurricanes and Dolphins games at Hard Rock Stadium.)

If Tom Garfinkel [vice chairman, president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium] and his group can create a model that provides for a safe environment for our students and the fans that are attending I think it would be a great celebration. Like I said just a minute ago, my gut is we probably start without fans in the stands.

That’s not what we’d like. We’d like to have a full stadium. I recognize that’s probably not realistic right now. So if we can have a modified version, I think it’s a big win…With that said it will be different. We all recognize the world has changed and we have to take a different approach to things.

So it won’t be the same student-athlete experience as our kids had last August and September but it will be a great experience at the University of Miami starting this August and going forward and I know it’s one that will continue to evolve as changes are made with combating the virus to hopefully down the road a vaccine and everything that’s going along with it.

The season is still 94 days away. The cancelation of all spring sports was 83 days ago. James is correct in stating while contingencies are being worked on by the ACC athletic directors to know how and when the college football season will begin is too early. All sorts of possibilities of how the 2020 season will play out are plausible.

The projection of conference only seven-game schedules (Miami would likely cancel its entire non-conference schedule and not play Wake Forest) to starting in November seem like last-ditch efforts. Starting in November would work for most of the ACC, but what about the cold weather schools and other conferences.

There remains a strong possibility that some schools and conferences would play a different amount of games. With states and cities opening at different times the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams will be affected in different ways. The Miami Hurricanes benefit from Florida opening up earlier than most other states.

Related Story: Miami administrators expect no fans at games

Working with the Dolphins, Garfinkel and Hard Rock Stadium benefits all of South Florida. Even with 30,000 fans attending the games, a sizeable portion of the fanbase would be left out when family and students are included with the 30,000 season ticket holders. The Miami athletic department has a lot to work out before September.

Having any fans at all at Hard Rock Stadium would create some sense of an atmosphere that would be bereft of one without fans in attendance. The absence of fans would take pressure off of some of the Miami football players. The logistics about finding tickets for family and friends and where they sit would be eliminated.

Next: Miami AD Blake James sees many scenarios for start of CFB

Players would be able to focus solely on the game with fans absent. It would also mean that players would have to become more self-motivated. That is a lot to ask of primarily 18-22-year-olds who are not used to that. Other Divison I sports and lower levels of college athletics always face low attendance.