NORMAN – Oklahoma Vice President and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione spoke to the media on Friday via a Zoom call to discuss the upcoming 2020 fall sports season.
It was mostly things we already know, but Castiglione put a special emphasis on that this upcoming college football season is still undeniably up in the air.
Earlier this week, the Big 12 made the announcement, along with the ACC and SEC, that they would be pushing onward in preparation for the season.
This came after the Big Ten and Pac-12 had already elected to call it quits and look to try and play the season in the Spring instead.
So, while the Big 12 and Oklahoma are going forward for now, the season is not “guaranteed or a “given” as Castiglione put it.
He also mentioned how everyone needs to be able to adapt in the coming weeks and throughout the season, if we get to that point.
“We have to be flexible,” Castiglione said. “Something might develop that might cause us to pivot or move to stopping practice, or maybe not even having a game or a season.”
Fan Expectations This Season
Part of that flexibility will have to come from the fans, as well as the players and coaches.
Perhaps the biggest piece of news regarding the coming season for Oklahoma that came from Joe today was that, as expected, fans will be required to wear masks at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium this season.
This comes after it had recently been announced that OU was shooting for around 25% stadium capacity for games this year – but that was still open to be changed.
“I would defer to our medical experts to make that decision,” Joe said.
The Oklahoma AD also said there are not any “specific numbers” in regards to how many positive cases among the team would warrant a game postponement.
Castiglione later said that tailgating at games was still being discussed.
Why did Big Ten and Pac-12 cancel?
“It’s hard to say what other conferences feel since we are not in their meetings,” Castiglione said. “There isn’t, or hasn’t been, consistency in the testing protocols around the country…it’s clear various campuses have gone about testing in different ways.”
Joe was not able to really say for certain why the Big Ten and Pac-12 felt it was necessary to make the ruling of canceling the season at this point.
But his comments certainly highlighted the bigger overall issue with college football right now – every school and conference are doing things differently.
The conferences not being on the same page and not having the best communication throughout this process as been a huge source of the issues with getting all this straightened out.
Castiglione did not flat out say that the system as it stands is no good – but he certainly gave that impression.
He called for more consistency among the conferences and schools when it comes to safety protocols and testing procedures – which would be next to impossible for anyone to argue with.
Missouri State still a PPV?
A big question surrounding OU football right now that many fans are asking is if the Missouri State season opener will still be a pay-per-view game despite the trimmed down schedule.
Castiglione, unfortunately, was not able to shed any light on that situation, simply stating that it was still being discussed as well.
It is hard to forecast which way that will fall, but one thing is for certain – Oklahoma makes a lot of money off of their PPV game each season.
It won’t be an easy decision for OU to give it up, and it may take a solid pay day from a network to air the game for them to make the move.
We will keep you updated on that once we know more.
Medical Experts, Medical Experts, Medical Experts
Another big takeaway from what Castiglione had to say today is how often he referenced how they discuss all these matters with medical experts.
It certainly seems that nearly every decision Oklahoma makes is with the guidance of people who know better than most.
Joe provided this classic line when describing this concept: “I’m an AD, not an MD.”
It certainly seems that Oklahoma is taking the smartest possible approach to this situation as they really have the whole time: take it slow, get good advice, be overly cautious.
Castiglione certainly preached that with his comments today.
Assuming the season starts on time on September 12th, we are just a day over four weeks away from Oklahoma’s opener against Missouri State.
Stay plugged in to 107.7 The Franchise for all the latest on Oklahoma Sooners football as the season rapidly approaches.