So far, the coronavirus pandemic has caused the cancellation of non-conference games for the Colorado football team, as well as the rest of the Pac-12.
With the Pac-12 announcing last week a plan to play a conference-only schedule, that, of course, means that for the first time since 1994, when Bill McCartney was CU’s head coach, the Buffs won’t play in-state rival Colorado State.
On Monday, CU athletic director Rick George expressed his disappointment over having to cancel that game – as well as dates with Fresno State and Texas A&M – but at least two players aren’t too worried about the loss of the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
“It kind of is what it is at this point,” receiver Dimitri Stanley said. “It’s just something we have no control over.”
Stanley, who grew up in Denver and graduated from Cherry Creek High School, has been around the CU-CSU rivalry for years, but said he’s not worried about who isn’t on the schedule anymore.
“I’m just kind of cherishing the games that we do get and the teams that we do get to play and games that we do get to travel to and all that,” he said. “I still want to play football, of course, especially sitting out as long as we have, so I’m ready to get to it. If we miss out on a couple of games, we have no power over that; we have no control over that. If we do get any games at all, I’ll be excited.”
Defensive lineman Terrance Lang shared the same feeling.
“I really was looking forward to that Texas A&M game,” he said. “At the end of the day right now, I just want to play football, so I’m not complaining.”
Stanley and Lang took the same approach to the possibility of the college football season being canceled and moved to spring.
“At this point I really wouldn’t mind playing at any time,” Lang said. “I just want to play. If that’s what it takes for us to play, then I’m all for it.”
Stanley said he’s not sure how a spring season would work without impacting future seasons, but added, “If they find a way to make it work, then I’m satisfied.”
Venues in fall
On Monday, George said CU is still figuring out what the game-day process will look like at Folsom Field if there are games played and fans in attendance.
“We will continue to work with our campus and our local and state authorities as we build out our plan,” he said. “We hope to make a decision in the coming weeks on what that will look like.”
CU is looking at going without paper tickets and minimizing contact when it comes to paying for food, etc. If the Buffs get to a point where there are games with fans, George said there will be an “incredible amount of education” given to fans about the plan.
“It’s going to be important that those that do choose to come to the game – and it’s their choice – we’ve got to make sure that they know that it’s going to be different and how’s it going to be different,” he said. “I would believe that at that point, we will put things in writing, we’ll put together videos on what it will look like. … It may not be what it’s been for the last 40 years.”
If football is played in the fall, it’s possible there won’t be any fans at all. Stanley said it would be weird for the players.
“But that’s just where you’ve got to come together and just play football and treat it kind of like a scrimmage, kind of like a practice, but obviously still keeping that competitiveness because we want to win some games and definitely want to go to a bowl game,” he said. “You’ve just got to have the fans in your head, I guess, and kind of just imagine that they’re there, and then just think about all the people that are watching at home and you’re performing for them as well.”
George to present plan
CU announced Tuesday that George will be one of four Power Five athletic directors to showcase their plans for restoring college sports amid COVID-19 during a webinar on Aug. 3.
Along with George will be Gene Smith (Ohio State), John Currie (Wake Forest) and Blake James (Miami, Fla.).
“Our university and athletic department have long been sustainability leaders because we know the positive benefits sustainable practices can have on people and the environment, as well as fiscally,” George said on CUBuffs.com. “Each of the athletic directors participating in this webinar understand the value the high-profile platform of athletics can provide in elevating awareness and buy-in around sustainability, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of these efforts.”