Rice Football took a proactive step to delay the start of its 2020 season, but the future remains as uncertain as ever in the midst of the COVID-19.
On Monday afternoon, Rice football announced the delay of its 2020 season. According to the current plan, that would set the Owls up to begin their 2020 campaign at home against Lamar. The Cardinals reside in the Southland Conference, which could very well fall in line with several other FCS conferences and postpone its season to the spring, at the earliest.
All of those concerns served as a rather bleak backdrop for a conversation with Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard, tasked with explaining the unexplainable and navigating the unprecedented.
“Throughout the summer and up until this point we’ve wanted to do everything that we can to give ourselves the best shot at playing college football this fall,” he said. “We feel like delaying til the end of the month puts us in that position.”
Karlgaard indicated that Rice is still very much so the ultimate decision of whether or not Rice plays football during the fall “day by day.” He went as far as to say “circumstances could change… and that could happen to us and that could happen in a moment’s notice.” Per his own admission, optimism was greater coming out of the spring than it is right now.
For the time being, the plan is for Rice to start the season on September 26 against Lamar and try to fit a home game with Army or Houston in during the Owls’ open week (October 17) or potentially at the end of the regular season, possibly on December 5.
All of those dates seem so far away today in mid-August.
Half joking, half grimly-rooted in our new reality, Karlgaard ended a zoom with local media with a thank you and a promise to keep everyone up to date, signing off with a telling quip: “that could be five minutes from now.”
Sources within the program were equally pessimistic. One put the odds of Rice playing any football this fall at a 4 out of 10. Karlgaard himself said he wasn’t sure what the future holds. In his defense, none of us do.
From a logistical standpoint, Rice is pushing all the right buttons. They’ve been careful and calculated when it comes to there response to a challenging situation. But for now, Rice football and the rest of us will continue to wait.
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