South Carolina football: Mark Emmert speaks on upcoming season

NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke on Thursday morning about the protocol moving forward with the 2020 college football season. How does it affect the South Carolina football program?

NCAA president Mark Emmert has finally made a public statement regarding the 2020 college football season. On Thursday morning, Emmert appeared on NBC’s Today Show to discuss the logistics and protocols for the upcoming year.

The NCAA had been rather silent on the season up to this point, but the NCAA leader broke that silence as he spoke on the requirements that each university will take on should they decide to move forward with a fall season. The Power Five conferences have already announced their plans to play in September, with the ACC releasing its 2020 schedule this morning.

Emmert says that the NCAA’s approach has not been as “laissez faire” as some around the sport would think, though it is hard to comprehend the reasoning for the association’s silence this summer. But late is better than never.

Emmert stated that “any school and conference that decides to move forward—and that decision won’t be until August 21—but if they decide to move forward, they have to meet a very clear, very rigid protocol… They’re not guidelines anymore. They’re mandatory.”

He also went on to say talk about student-athlete testing protocols and the requirements that need to be met before competition can take place.

“Every school has to test every athlete going forward into competition at least once a week, and no more than 72 hours before any competition. If they can’t get [results] back within a 72-hour period, they simply can’t compete. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality.”

Though each university will adhere to these guidelines, some athletes still view the fall season start as a health risk, which has led a number of players, including a few projected as first-round draft picks, to opt out of 2020 altogether.

This issue has impacted the Gamecocks already, as they recently learned that they’ll be without two offensive linemen next year. Emmert said that “students [will] have complete flexibility about opting out or deciding not to play,” and that athletes “need to have the assurance that this pandemic is not going to be held against them.”

It will be interesting to see how the situation progresses as the offseason continues, but it’s certainly nice to finally hear the NCAA publicly communicate with their member institutions and their followings.

Check out the full interview here.