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College Football Coaches, ADs Increasingly Pessimistic Amid Programs' COVID-19 Outbreaks

Isaiah Simmons and Joe Burrow meet after the college football title game.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers congratulates Isaiah Simmons #11 of the Clemson Tigers after their 42-25 win in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, it looked very likely that we'd get college football back this fall, in some form. As players have started to return to campus, and COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred across the sport, some serious pessimism is reportedly setting in.

A number of programs have had a few isolated cases over the last few weeks. 23 members of the Clemson Tigers reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, a week after the program had just two positive tests. At the time, it was reportedly the biggest outbreak among any of the programs who have been bringing players back.

The news hasn't gotten much better. Today, it was reported that national champion LSU has 30 players in quarantine. The outbreak in Baton Rouge has been linked back to a local nightclub.

With this news, significant questions have been raised about the upcoming season. Right now, things are manageable as actual practice hasn't started. If something like this happens in the fall, which is certainly on the table, it could derail a team's whole fall, if quarantining a quarter of the team is necessary. Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel spoke to 20 ADs, coaches, and administrators about how sour things have turned over the last few days.

One unnamed athletic director told Thamel that they are “"way less convinced we will play [football] than I was a few weeks ago." Florida AD Scott Stricklin admitted that there are profound difficulties based on how things are now, as things are just now starting to spike in many of the biggest football hotbeds in the country, like his state.

“Until we have medicine that gives people confidence about resuming activities or we get comfortable enough where we don’t flinch every time we see a new case count, it’s going to be hard to play,” said Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. “It’s like every nerve is exposed on this topic.”

Time may be a blessing and a curse. We learn more and more about the disease, and potential treatments and prevention methods with each passing week. As we near the season, however, with full teams beginning to practice together and other students coming to campus, the potential for spread also increases. One FBS coach echoed those sentiments:

“None of us are even practicing right now, and we’re still having to quarantine dudes,” said a third FBS coach. “It’s only the middle of June. Maybe in July we’ll have an answer of what happens during practice. Right now, we don’t have an answer what to do if this happens in fall camp.”

Hopefully things start to calm down throughout the summer, and we don't see any major second waves anywhere in the country, allowing for college football to start in September. If the last few days have taught us anything, it is that we're still very much in the dark on everything, even months into this crisis.

[Yahoo Sports]