ATHENS — The University of Iowa president said on Thursday the Hawkeyes hope to resume athletics on campus on June 1.
Georgia’s plan isn’t too far behind.
UGA President Jere Morehead said in a radio interview on WGAU on Thursday the hope for the Bulldogs is to have the players return to campus in July and have a “normal” football season with fans in the stands.
“Our expectation at this point is that we’ll have a normal football season and be able to play all of our games,” Morehead said. “Certainly our hope and expectation is that we’ll have fans in stands, and we hope that we’ll have our players here at some point during the month of July.”
Iowa President Bruce Harreld told ESPN that 6 to 8 weeks were needed for football players to be prepared for the season. According to Adam Rittenberg, Harreld closed his quote by saying “June 1 is the date we’re going to get back to practice and here we go.”
Morehead qualified his optimism for Georgia football to return by acknowledging the potential for COVID-19 projections to change.
“If the projections were to change that could impact our plans, but right now we’re moving forward very confidently under the assumption that we’ll be able to mount a relatively normal operation in the fall,” Morehead said.
“There will obviously have to be some changes, and there will have to be some precautions. That’s why I’ve assembled nine different groups across the campus looking at how we would resume our operations in the fall, and they are working every day.”
Morehead said the groups are working in the areas of: workplace safety, instruction, research, public service and outreach, student life, athletics and the fiscal impact.
There are senior administrators and faculty staff among the nearly 140 working in the groups, he said.
The University of Georgia has a reserve fund of more than $100 million, but Morehead stressed the importance of football’s return.
“Even though (athletic director) Greg McGarity has done a great job of being very conservative in finances, which is now proving to have been absolutely critical, even a school like Georgia would be devastated by not having a football season,” Morehead said.
“Football is the driver for all the other athletic programs the we have. It’s also what brings this campus together and brings the Bulldog Nation together.
“So I’m very optimistic, very hopeful that we’ll have a full football season.”