What’s going to school soccer seem like in 2021?
Brad Wurthman, Senior Associate Athletic Director at Virginia Tech, is so excited about the possibility of football fans returning to Lane Stadium this fall. He jokingly says he’s going to pay to put a roof on it “just so we can call the damn thing off.” on 3rd September. “
At USC, sporting director Mike Bohn said he heard from the school’s marching band on a weekly basis last fall and asked to return to play or exercise or to say goodbye to help the Trojans. Bohn hopes state and local restrictions will be relaxed soon so everyone can return to the Colosseum in the fall, including, of course, the school’s legendary noble steed, Traveler.
And in Auburn, left security guard Tashawn Manning is holding on to the possibility of getting off the team bus at the corner of Donahue Drive and Samford Avenue and being greeted again by a “sea of fans” waiting for the Tiger Walk.
“It’s one of my favorite traditions that Auburn has,” he said. “When you come down the street you see all the fans cheering you on and everyone has your back. It’s just a good boost for the game.”
After a 2020 season in which COVID-19 devastated college football, everyone could use a little “boost” this fall. With exactly 100 days remaining until the first fall college football games begin on August 28, college football players, coaches, and sports administrators expect a Saturday season similar to the normal of 2019.
All 10 FBS conferences and their medical advisory groups are re-evaluating the protocols established last summer – routine testing, mask mandates, quarantines, and contact tracing – a multitude of COVID-19 rules that could now be reconsidered or, in some cases, waived entirely on vaccination rates.
ESPN spoke to more than a dozen stakeholders, from commissioners and sporting directors to coaches, players and medical advisors, about the state of the game in 2021. While the tests, in some ways, stick, the focus has been on vaccinating teams and educating them about the game shifted process. Other priorities include planning crowds at full capacity and returning traditions – while still following state and local authority guidelines.