The campus soccer season is approaching, but more and more matches are being dropped from the schedule.
Non-conference games have become the first games to be present, with several conferences removed because of the COVID-19 challenge. Among the immovable ones are the Big 12 and the American Athletic Conference, two leagues that include three FBS schools in the state.
“Whatever amount of time we have before a decision has to be made, you want to gather as much information and facts as possible,” said Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione. “And that may end at a point where we don’t have more information than we do today.
“But we will use all the time on the clock, like a metaphor, to make the best decision. And I knew we would eventually do it. “
While the Big 12 has taken time, other Power Five leagues have made the decision to eliminate some or all non-conference games and have forced the hands of the Big 12. Big 12 seems to be approaching the decision, canceling its virtual media day on Monday and holding a board meeting that day.
Of the three non-conference Sooners games, one has been affected. With the SEC moving to the league schedule only Thursday, the OU tent fight against Tennessee on September 12 was canceled.
Season opener in less than a month. OU successfully petitioned the NCAA that the season’s opening match against the FCS team, Missouri State, rose one week to give more time between the first and second matches. If the rest of the schedule is left intact, there will be 28 days between them.
Another non-conference OU game is an interesting trip to West Point, New York, to play Army on September 26 – apparently in an empty stadium. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fans from attending matches this season in the state, and New York also requires people traveling from a list of states that include Oklahoma to quarantine for 14 days.
Asked whether the game could be moved from New York, Castiglione said: “It hasn’t been discussed at all just because the countries around them all apply the same restrictions. To move it from New York to New Jersey or Connecticut or Pennsylvania, you haven’t changed much. .
“We are not talking about alternative sites. We pay close attention to what might happen, what could happen and whether we can have a game or not. The only thing we talked about briefly is if a game can’t happen, how can we find a place in our schedule to reschedule it. That will be difficult. We both have a set schedule for several years. “
The State of Oklahoma also saw the match cut the match schedule, the opening match against Oregon State which was supposed to take place on September 3 at Boone Pickens Stadium, but was canceled when Pac-12 chose to take the league route instead.
Unless Big 12 follows suit, OSU will continue to check options for the opening opponent. Other non-conference games will also be played in Stillwater, against enemies in the state of Tulsa on September 12 and the FCS Western Illinois team on September 19.
“As far as we are going to play soccer or soccer this fall, our intention is to get ready and get ready,” OSU’s athletic director Mike Holder said. “If we are not lucky enough to play team sports this fall, then we will be ready to play winter sports. If for some reason we can’t play it, we will be ready to play in the spring. And if we can’t play it, we will be ready for autumn again in 2021. “
Another option is to push college football into the spring in an event that is determined to have too much risk this fall. This step will be logically challenging and possibly a league-only model similar to what at least one FCS conference is planning for spring.
“Anything is possible,” Holder said. “It might not be like (playing in spring), but anything is possible. Our athlete just wants to play. They came here to compete and we want to give them a chance to win the conference championship (and) national championship. Hopefully they dream that big. “
Entering August, the situation remained very fluid. It is unknown whether the game that was scheduled for years in advance will be played a few weeks from now.
“We are planners as coaches,” said TU coach Philip Montgomery. “We have a schedule. We have a script. … At present, every day is a new day with new challenges and you must be able to adjust. “
Montgomery’s troops, who want to make their first appearance since 2016, have four non-conference matches before turning to the American game in October. Two road games at OSU and in the State of Arkansas (September 26), driving trips from Tulsa rather than flights.
“That makes us more comfortable,” said TU athletics director Derrick Gragg. “When we fly, we do charter flights, but even with charter flights, you deal with people (non-TU) who handle luggage. (Bus) is a much more controlled environment. We bring our own things to the bus, and we load them on the bus. We control that. “
Hurricane also has a home match against Toledo, from the Mid-American Conference, and Northwestern State, an FCS team. Unlike in most years when the schedule includes a stand-alone game at Power Five school, there is no one million dollar salary on the line.
“Others (the team in America) have had cancellations (from the date of the massive nonconference), and I understand their position,” Gragg said. “At the moment, revenue is very important, and especially when you look at it you might not be able to have a full stadium. Every dollar counts. At least this year, we don’t need to worry about canceling that type. “
In the days leading up to the start of autumn in early August, teams are usually excited about the potential that season can bring. This year, there is a possibility of some anxiety whether the game will be played.
“We cannot let all the changes that occur affect what we can do,” Montgomery said. “Let’s control what we can control and whatever they throw in front of us, we will attack and take advantage and enjoy being here working and preparing ourselves for what we want to be a great season.”
Big 12 Football: The All-Big 12 Football Preseason award, as chosen by the media