The undeniable camaraderie of the University of Colorado Buffaloes’ fanbase is not only a part of game days, but also of student life at CU. While we live in what seems to be an age of uncertainty with the status of fans attending games and games even being played still up in the air, Colorado Athletic Director Rick George is keeping CU prepared for any circumstance.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard to put together the right protocols for our student athletes when they come back on campus to ensure their health and safety,” said George in a Zoom conference call on Monday. “We’ve been working really hard on what our facilities will look like… We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this because we knew there would come a day when we are either going to play or we’re not going to play. We are ready to play.”
George’s comments come on the heels of the Pac-12’s announcement that the league will only play conference games this fall due to the complications set forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that CU football’s three non-conference games have been dropped from the schedule. Those include a Fort Collins showdown against Colorado State University (which has been the Buffs season opener for years now), a road trip to Texas A&M University and a Fresno State University matchup back in Boulder.
“For us, we felt the best way for us to do that was to play conference-only because then we can assure that we all have the same protocols in place (and) the same consistency across the board,” George said. “It gave us the most flexibility in scheduling those contests and that’s why we came to the decision we did.”
The Pac-12 now faces the decision of whether to keep the number of conference games at nine or bump it up to 10 or 11. Additionally, the conference must also choose whether to start the season when non-conference play was set to begin in September or delay it even further. Similar decisions ensue for other fall sports — soccer for one — who are also subject to a conference-only schedule.
“The next step in the process will be for us to solidify our conference schedules for all of our fall sports,” George said. “We are collectively working with our conference, with our (senior woman administrators and) with our coaches to put a draft that we would put in front of our presidents and chancellors here in the very near future.”
To keep athletes already back on campus training safe, players and staff have received daily temperature and symptom checks. George said it will be key for the Buffs to practice healthy habits in the form of wearing masks and washing hands, both for players and potential fans at games.
As the situation continues to evolve by what seems to be the minute, CU will continue focusing on staying healthy as it prepares for a modified fall season.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ellie Jeffries at firstname.lastname@example.org.