Kirk Herbstreit will be 'shocked' if NFL, college football happen in 2020

Kirk Herbstreit-102318-GETTY-FTR
(Getty Images)

The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has put the sports world on hold. The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS seasons are on hold, and the NCAA men's basketball tournament was canceled.

Will football be next? 

ESPN "College GameDay" analyst Kirk Herbstreit's comments on ESPN radio Thursday night paint a picture nobody wants to see.  

"I'll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall," Herbstreit said, via TMZ Sports. "If we have college football, I'll be so surprised if that happens." 

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Herbstreit's comments might be jarring, but they should be taken seriously. As of Friday morning, there were more than 85,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States.  

Spring football was mostly wiped out across the FBS, and most media days take place in early July. The NFL Draft is still scheduled for April 23-25, but public events associated with the draft have been canceled.  

Before the NCAA basketball tournament was canceled, the conference tournaments attempted to have games that were not open to the public. That is one of the potential hurdles that will need to be addressed with football.  

"You're 12 to 18 months from a vaccine," Herbstreit said. "I don't know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don't know how you can do it with the optics of it." 

The NFL regular season is set to begin Sept. 10. The college football season is scheduled to start Aug. 29 — with a season-opening game between Notre Dame and Navy in Dublin, Ireland. That is yet another layer that needs discussed given the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. These dates are not as far off as they seem.  

"As much as I hate to say it, I think we're scratching the surface of where this thing is going to go," Herbstreit said.  

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