As optimism grows that a college football season will indeed take place this fall, the question then becomes "how?"
One speculated and widely discussed solution has been to play games without any spectators in attendance, similar to the returns of various professional leagues recently, including NASCAR, UFC, some European soccer and Korean baseball.
The University of Oregon, for example, seems to be moving in this direction for its September matchup with Ohio State after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called for no sporting events with large crowds through at least September.
A move like that would obviously impact programs' bottom lines with the loss of ticket revenue, but according to Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor, it's a solution that is financially possible – at least until next year.
Kansas State AD Gene Taylor (@KSTATEADGT) tells us if a football season is played without fans, the television revenue alone would be enough for programs to stay afloat financially until the following year.— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 19, 2020
It obviously would not be the ideal outcome, but if it comes down to not having a season or not having fans, an empty stadium would be the easy choice, almost unanimously.
Ohio State linemen Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis have already said they "would do anything" to play football this season, and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh would willingly accept an empty stadium if it meant having a football season.
"Heck yeah I'd be comfortable coaching a game without any fans," Harbaugh told ESPN. "If the choice were play in front of no fans or not play, then I would choose to play in front of no fans."
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also said he's getting more comfortable with the idea of playing football in an empty stadium, but he's still optimistic it won't have to come to that as the program continues to look into social distancing models that would likely reduce the capacity of the stadium to 20,000-22,000 fans.