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Penn State Football: Nittany Lion's Week Three Contest Against San Jose State in Question

by on May 13, 2020 11:50 AM

Penn State football's contest against San Jose State in the third week of the Nittany Lions' season could be at risk following the announcement on Tuesday night that the California State University system will operate mostly online this fall.

The CSU is the nation's largest four-year public university system and includes 23 campuses across the state of California.

In addition to the cancelation of on-campus learning for the fall at all CSU campuses, the CCAA -the governing athletic body for the majority of CSU schools- announced the cancelation of all fall athletic events as well. The CCAA is a Division II conference within the NCAA system.

The complication and uncertainty only increases as it pertains to San Jose State, San Diego State and Fresno State, all members of the CSU system, but athletically members of the Mountain West. All four parties released a joint statement on Tuesday night. 

“Certainly, all conversations are led by academics, as well as public health and safety,” the statement reads. “Within that framework, more determinations are necessary. All three institutions will work closely with the Mountain West. No decisions on athletics have been made.”

The statement was signed by Fresno State president Joseph I. Castro, San Diego State president Adela de la Torre, San Jose State president Mary Papazian and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.

While no broad determination has been made nationally about the requirement that students and student-athletes both be on campuses in order for athletic competition to take place, it has been the prevailing sentiment by many departments -Penn State included- that if campuses are not safe enough for "normal" students they are unsafe to for student-athletes as well. In turn, a new set of challenges arise as schools transition to online learning for the upcoming fall semester while still remaining hopeful for a successful college football season.

As for Penn State, it is business as usual, but like everyone in the college football world, a "wait and see" approach to whatever might come next. The university at-large is scheduled to announce fall plans by June 15th at the latest.

"Penn State's focus is on the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans in every decision made about intercollegiate athletics," the department said in its own statement Wednesday. "The football game with San Jose State on September 19 remains on the schedule at this time. Given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, Penn State is preparing for a variety of scenarios for fall sports, all in consideration of the guidance and direction of public health authorities, the state and federal government, the Big Ten and the NCAA." 

In total the news marks the latest example of the challenges surrounding the upcoming college football season, not only as it pertains to the competition itself, but simply getting practices started again. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert noted on Tuesday night that the NCAA will not mandate a uniform return for college sports. 

"Normally there's an agreed upon start date for every sport, every season," Emmert told ESPN's Heather Dinich, "But under these circumstances, now that's all been derailed by the pandemic. It won't be the conferences that can do that, either. It will be the local and state health officials that say whether or not you can open and play football with fans."



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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