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Turmoil surrounds college football ahead of 2020 season

| Thursday, August 13, 2020

There was plenty of news surrounding the Irish football program ahead of the anticipated start to Fall Camp on Aug. 12.

To prepare for camp, 117 Notre Dame football student-athletes received a COVID-19 test on Aug. 10. Of the 117 athletes who were tested, only two players tested positive for the virus. 

One of the athletes who tested positive was asymptomatic, and the other exhibited mild symptoms. Both of those players are currently in isolation along with seven other athletes who were identified through contact tracing.

With the addition of these two athletes, there are now four positive tests among the Irish football team in total. So far the University has administered 619 COVID-19 tests to football players and athletics department staff, resulting in a negativity rate of  99.35%. Considering the general spike of COVID-19 positives across the nation, that is a very promising statistic. 

There was also medical news on the football team with senior wide receiver Isaiah Robertson, junior offensive lineman Cole Mabry and graduate student running back Trevor Speights being medically disqualified from competition.

Speights will be a big loss for the Irish. With a lot of questions surrounding who will get carries at back this season, Speights figured to be at the very least a good addition to the depth chart for the Irish. During his sophomore and junior years at Stanford, Speights had 95 carries for 363 yards and a touchdown. 

Mabry, unfortunately, will no longer be able to play due to an injury to the shoulder and neck area. He has tried to play through the injury since last September, but it has continued to return time and again. Many expected Mabry to push for a rotation spot during the 2020 season and possibly even battle for a starting role in 2021.

The last couple of weeks have been very interesting in the college football world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are lots of questions about what the future holds for 2020 Notre Dame football.

A couple of weeks ago, the Irish officially joined the ACC for the 2020 season as more and more conferences decided to play limited to no non-conference games in 2020. As an FBS Independent, it would have made it very difficult for the Irish to find opponents without being part of a conference.

For a while, it appeared that everything would be alright for the 2020 season. The Irish were planning on playing ten ACC games along with one non-conference game against Western Michigan.

The plans for the season began to unravel, however, when the Mid-American Conference (MAC), which Western Michigan is a part of, decided to cancel the 2020 Fall football season this past weekend. 

This decision by the MAC prompted the Big Ten and the PAC-12 to cancel their 2020 football seasons as well, leading many people to believe that college football would cease to happen at all in 2020.

At the moment, the Irish and the ACC appear to be set on playing the 2020 season as planned with a ten-game conference schedule plus one non-conference opponent.

If that plan does not change, the Irish will need to find a non-conference opponent to replace the Western Michigan game. Many believe that the Irish will try to find another independent team such as BYU to play.

With only three major football conferences still planning on having a fall football season, the next couple of weeks will be vital in preparing for the 2020 season. The Irish are slated to open up their season at home against Duke on Sept. 12.

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About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

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