The Football Oversight Committee on Thursday is expected to make two recommendations to the Division I Council that will give the conferences that aren’t playing this fall a practice model that mirrors a typical spring, and a 13-week season that can end no later than April 17 or April 24.
The committee will also discuss the eligibility of midyear enrollees in the second semester.
The Division I Council is expected to vote on the recommendations at its Sept. 16 meeting.
West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, the chair of the FOC, told ESPN that the committee wanted to give any conferences not playing the flexibility to determine their schedule, but it shouldn’t go beyond the normal 13 weeks.
“We’re not going to tell any conference when they can start, that will be up to each conference’s discretion,” Lyons said, “but we will put down a line to say that you can’t exceed the 13 weeks. What we’re saying is once you start, you can’t say we’re going to play five weeks now and six weeks later. It’s continuous unless the virus stops you.”
Four of the 10 FBS conferences — the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and Mid-American — have postponed their seasons because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and are currently allowed 12 hours each week that includes time for strength and conditioning, meetings and five hours of on-field activities with helmets.
A subcommittee of the FOC, comprised of members who currently aren’t playing, is expected to present to the full FOC on Thursday a model that will allow those teams 29 days to have 15 practices — just like in a typical spring — only ranging from mid-September to early November.
Lyons said there could still be spring bowl games after the 13-week season, if that postseason possibility becomes a reality. The 2021 NFL draft is on April 29.
The split college football seasons have also raised a question for midyear enrollees, high school athletes who graduate in December and enroll in college in January so they can participate in spring practices. Instead of practicing, though, some teams might be playing games — opening the door for debate about whether those recent high school graduates will be eligible for competition.
“There are some that support it,” Lyons said, “and there are some that say, they’re coming out of high school. They’re not going to be eligible for competition until next September. We’ll discuss that and see where we land.”