Five questions we don't have answers to regarding what's next
In the wake of the cancelations and postponements, here are five questions we still don't have answers to?
What will happen with spring football practices?
As we sit here on Friday, this is what we know. The Big Ten has suspended all athletic activities through at least April 6. On and off-campus recruiting has been shut down for all sports through April 15 per the NCAA.
So what does this mean for the future of spring football practice? NU has conducted two of its 15 scheduled spring workouts. They have seven practices scheduled from Mar. 30 to April 4.
What we don't know is what happens on April 6? If the Big Ten allows teams to conduct practices again starting that day, Nebraska could easily add an additional practice day each week and finish spring a week later than planned.
They could practice Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday on the weeks of April 6, April 13 and April 20. The spring game (Practice No. 14) could be played on April 25 and then they could have a 15th practice the Monday after the game.
If things set up for April 6, a timeline like that would be very plausible. If the NCAA extends the spring recruiting evaluation period into June, you might also see spring practices go into May. There are a lot things we don't know, but at least April 6 gives us a starting block that NU can work with.
Can players have "unorganized" team workouts?
With all organized team activity shut down until April 6, can Nebraska's players conduct practices and workouts on their own without coaches present?
My guess would be yes, but will students even be on campus in the coming weeks? Will the Big Ten allow weight rooms to be open for student-athletes to use?
This is very much the "gray area" of the April 6 ruling announced from the Big Ten. If players can still conduct organized workouts without coaches present, it changes things quite a bit.
What about eligibility in the winter/spring sports?
The eligibility of basketball, track & field, baseball, softball and wrestling student-athletes is going to be hot button issue for the next several months.
Will every athlete be allowed a free year on their NCAA eligibility clock? I get the whole senior argument, as they deserve another opportunity. However, can't that same argument be made for underclassmen too?
The NCAA announced on Friday "it will be appropriate to grant relief for the use of a season for competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports." The NCAA will start working on issues tied to this and winter athletes.
The logistics of the eligibility issue will be one of the more difficult things to figure out going forward.
Will scholarship numbers be expanded to accommodate this? You almost have to treat it like a medical hardship year for every athlete, but the effect it will have on scholarship numbers for future years will be hard to figure out. The Power Five schools can absorb that additional scholarship cost, but at the lower levels, they are not going to have the money to essentially absorb up to 20 to 25 percent more student-athletes on their financial books.
Will we see changes to the football recruiting calendar?
With the April 15 recruiting ruling announced by the NCAA, two football official visit weekends have already been wiped out.
This is a big deal because many prospects take almost all of their official visits in the months of April, May and June. Will the NCAA now allow prospects to take official visits on the weekend of June 27? Currently, June 20 is the final weekend visitors are allowed before the summer dead period. Is there even a possibility of allowing official visitors in late July or early August to make up these lost weekends?
As of today, the spring recruiting evaluation period remains on schedule, but since football practices will now be conducted potentially later in April, will the NCAA allow teams out in June as well to conduct evaluations? They are already allowed out 10 days in June to work satellite camps and other off-campus events.
Can Nebraska conduct their spring football and volleyball matches later?
If on April 6 spring practices start back up in the Big Ten, can the Nebraska football and volleyball teams conduct their spring matches?
We don't have an answer, either way, a lot will depend on the spread of the virus, and where things are at by that point.
You get the impression NU's leadership is taking a day-to-day approach. They don't want to cancel these events, and there really is no need to make a definitive decision on Mar. 13 until we know where this all goes.
I still don't get why schools like Ohio State and Michigan made this type of decision already not knowing where this is all going.