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Scheduling Issues Arise as Opponents Back Out of Games and Travel Amid COVID-19 Concerns

by on July 02, 2020 2:40 PM

As the fall athletic calendar draws closer, Penn State is already dealing with a handful of teams that will not be making their scheduled trip to State College for a pending game, citing concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've had schools contact us depending on how far they're traveling and to say that they won't be fulfilling their schedule," Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said on Wednesday. "So that's already started to happen [but] it hasn't happened in football."

Aside from football and previously announced games for various programs, Penn State has not released any competition schedules for its various fall sports. Generally speaking this lack of information is standard this time of year but offers limited insight regarding which programs and which games are impacted.

Traditionally Penn State women's soccer has hosted California-based teams over the years, a state that continues to shut down various forms of competition. On Thursday morning USC announced a reversal of previous plans to have in-person classes this fall, now opting for the majority of curriculum to be taught online. The state's university system previously announced its intentions to cancel all athletic competition this fall.

The Ivy League is reportedly set to announce its plans for the upcoming football season on July 8. The Ivy League was the first college conference to cancel its postseason conference tournament amid the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic's slow closure of sports around the country.

As for Penn State, the Nittany Lions will keep close tabs on San Jose State in the Mountain West conference. Another California based school, a long haul flight, uncertain costs and expenses as well as ongoing pandemic concerns could force the Spartans to stay home. As of Thursday there is no indication that will happen, but San Jose State remains the most uncertain of Penn State football's three out of conference opponents. 

When it comes to sports already experiencing scheduling issues, Barbour noted that it will mostly come down to the basics: who is available and who is regional.

"I certainly think we could could take a look- particularly if it's more regional an opportunity if something were to get dropped, Barbour added.

"But I'll be very honest. At this point, we want to make sure that that we can get as many games as are safe and healthy. If it's not the right thing to do, most importantly for our students, we're not doing it. And yes, there will be a significant financial ramifications to it, there will be a significant community, both economic and kind of morale and psyche implication to that, but none of that is worth risking the health and safety of our students and ultimately coaches staff and, and community."

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