When lockdowns began and sports were suspended in March due to COVID-19, it felt like it was impossible that college football could be impacted nearly six months later.
But now – more than two months into the coronavirus pandemic – many are concerned that the virus could stretch into the fall months and halt football season. While football would be the least of concerns if COVID-19 really does continue a frightening pace toward the end of the calendar year, the hope is that controlling the virus as much as it can be controlled will allow most people and businesses to continue on within recommended guidelines.
That hope took more steps toward becoming reality on Wednesday with multiple big announcements about college football and specifically athletics in the state of Iowa. While the coronavirus is still spreading and making a huge impact around the world, the US has begun to ease restrictions due to the curve flattening and the healthcare system being at a comfortable capacity nationwide. Iowa is one of those states widely reopening businesses.
Restrictions slowly being lifted
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding venues may also open up within the appropriate guidelines. Bars will open on May 28. Reynolds also recently announced that all Iowans can now test for coronavirus, which is good news for potential testing guidelines from the NCAA if sports are to resume. Previously, Iowa citizens had to apply and were only approved to be tested under specific circumstances. On Thursday, Iowa’s Department of Education Director announced schools may return to activity starting on June 1, a big step toward college football being played in Iowa. This means schools with summer athletics such as baseball can resume normal activities under the guidelines announced.
NCAA weighs in on college football
The NCAA’s Division I Council voted on Wednesday to allow football players and basketball players to participate in voluntary athletic activities on campus starting on June 1 and running through June 30. This was the first step toward NCAA athletics resuming for the next semester, which includes football.
For football to start on time, players were going to need to train and workout for a reasonable amount of time prior to practices and games beginning. Voluntary workouts in June will allow trainers and staff to monitor workouts and see players get in shape and be ready to begin the season. In the timeline of things that needed to happen for college football to start, voluntary workouts were first on the list. If things continue smoothly, the next step will be official practices further down the road if colleges open up and the NCAA regulates sports resuming.
With Iowa already opening up businesses and allowing schools to resume athletics, it can be assumed Iowa colleges will see football players on campus beginning June 1 for workouts. One thing to monitor though is specific conferences voting on what the NCAA already approved. While the NCAA did pass the vote, conferences still have the say for its specific schools on the same matter. Big conferences like the SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 are expected to vote by the end of the week.
Iowa and Iowa State’s odds for 2020
Both Iowa and Iowa State are heading into the 2020 football season high aspirations in conference and decent odds from a national perspective. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, both Iowa and Iowa State are tied for the 17th best odds to win the National Championship at +10000. Those are still high odds, but that’s to be expected with the little amount of parity we typically see in college football. If you’re willing to be on the longshot, whether for the national title or a conference championship, Iowa State is intriguing simply due to its quarterback.
Brock Purdy will be entering his junior season as a legitimate NFL prospect and is the type of player that could carry a team like Iowa State to unexpected heights.