Following Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's announcement that mass gatherings, including athletic events, could be cancelled or heavily altered through September, Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes held a virtual press conference to answer any questions on how this could impact Beavers athletics.
“We’re all modelling various scenarios because the times are so uncertain," said Barnes. "We’re certainly respectful of the governor’s commitment to the health of Oregonians and in alignment with our commitment to the health of our student-athletes, fans and our local community. Certainly not playing football in September has significant impact.”
One scenario not being considered is the cancellation of any fall sports, including football.
“We have every potential option on the table except that. We do not have cutting a sport on the table as an option.”
With fan attendance being limited through September under current plans, Oregon State and the NCAA could decide to postpone the season until spring, when conditions are safer to play and attend. But one thing is certain, football will be played during the 2020-21 academic school year.
One scenario we are not working on is not playing football.
Barnes also reiterated the importance of student-athletes' safety which is why he'd prefer to open up Oregon State facilities rather than force the players to exercise at less-controlled, more risky areas.
“I would rather put my student-athletes in a position to open a facility in a controlled environment controlled by us than having them at a local fitness center,” Barnes said.
The Beavers athletic director said "we aren't anywhere near" considering moving scheduled home games from Reser Stadium to an opposing stadium that have fans. For example, moving the Pac-12 home opener against Washington State on September 26 to Pullman.
"Our focus right now is to understand the landscape. Get ready for hosting home events and do it to the extent we can... That is so much of a hypothetical I don't have an answer for that."
Barnes also denied that the school, along with other Pac-12 schools, are talking to commissioner Larry Scott about bringing back athletes for sports with all classes being offered online, rather than in person.
Fan attendance at sporting events would occur in Phase III of Brown's re-opening plan but don't expect it anytime soon.
Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won’t be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be. Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Further guidance on large gatherings scheduled for later in the fall will be provided this summer. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Oregon State is currently scheduled to host Colorado State in the home opener at Reser Stadium on September 12, 2020.