Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick Looks For Delay Of Game(s)
The 2020 college football season might be on life support right now, but Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick wants to buy more time before any decision of pulling the plug is made.
In an interview with ESPN’s Heather Dinich on Tuesday, Swarbrick indicated he is seeking a “delay of game” call — except in this case it would be deemed a positive rather than a penalty.
Three of Notre Dame’s 12 regular-season games already have been called off because of the Big Ten and Pac-12 opting for a conference-only season due to the coronavirus pandemic: Wisconsin (Oct. 3), Stanford (Oct. 10) and USC (Nov. 28).
Meanwhile, the originally scheduled Aug. 29 opener versus Navy was shifted in early June to Annapolis, Md., and is slated to be played Sept. 5 or 6. Navy director of athletics Chet Gladchuck has maintained optimism about that game still occurring on time, while Swarbrick appeared to have some reservations.
A main reason is to monitor how the Fighting Irish football players acclimate to the fall semester and the rest of the student body, starting with on-campus classes Aug. 10.
“I don’t anticipate a 12-game schedule,” Swarbrick told ESPN. “I’d like to start a little later. The value of starting later is you really get to see how your university has done. You have the benefit of all of that information and knowledge, and so I’d like to start a little later.
“The number for me is probably somewhere between eight and 10 [games], but whatever is right for the health and safety of the players.”
With training camp slated to begin Aug. 7, forthcoming decisions by the end of this month by commissioners of the other three Power Five conferences — ACC (of which Notre Dame is a partial football member, with six games from the league on the slate this year), Big 12 and SEC — will dictate or alter current timelines.
“There are a lot of moving parts to those decisions,” Swarbrick told ESPN. “One is when do we start the competitive season? … It’s only after you decide when we’re comfortable starting, that sets your practice timeline, it sets how many games you can likely try and get into the season.
“And then you get into the details of the schedule, and try to create room for extra off weeks to manage issues that might arise. What’s your approach going to be? I think you’ll see the details of the schedules start to emerge, but it begins with saying, when are we going to start?”
The Three C’s — Communication, Cooperation and Compromise — also will be essential among schools.
“You need a lot of cross-communication, you need decisions about academic calendars and what will work,” Swarbrick noted. “It is really complex. … You’ve got to start to create some certainty for people. I don’t know if it will be fully fleshed out by the end of the month, but I think you’ll start having the parameters.”