Decisions On The 2020 College Football Could Come This Week

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The question of if and when college football returns should be answered in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Ken Lund on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA)

By Matt Noonan 

The debate about if and how college football could be played during a pandemic may be answered this week, especially after a flurry of activity this past weekend between Power 5 conferences convening remotely, per reports, to the Mid-American Athletic Conference (MAC) becoming the first F.B.S. league to cancel its 2020 season.

Last night – Sunday, August 9, to be exact – we learned the Big Ten conference, which met twice this weekend, is leaning toward canceling its football season. And if football is canceled, it is likely both the presidents and chancellors of each institution would pull the plug on other fall sports, too.

An announcement from the Big Ten is expected if not today definitely this week, and pending the league’s final decision on the 2020 fall sports season, it is possible other Power 5 conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) could cancel their respective fall sports seasons or perhaps make tweaks to their newly updated schedules.

While nothing official has been announced by the Big Ten or any Power 5 conference as of this morning, Bob Bowlsby, who is the commissioner of the Big 12, did provide some insight into what leagues might take into consideration when deciding to cancel games this fall: players enduring longlasting cardiac issues from contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19) that may prohibit them from future competition.

As noted in a recent story from Sports Illustrated, team doctors and physicians are worried that youth athletes, who are healthy and may be asymptomatic, could develop life-long heart problems, including myocardial, which causes damage to the heart muscle. It appears this issue is just one of many both presidents and chancellors are grappling with when it comes to making a decision on the 2020 fall sports season.

Here in New England, it appears as if both Boston College and the University of Massachusetts will play football this fall, but it is not a given that either program will play or perhaps complete its entire schedule. It is possible, pending future announcements from the Big Ten and other leagues, that both seasons could be canceled or punted to next spring.

Merrimack College, which competes in the Northeastern Conference (NEC), will have to wait and see if their football team will be allowed to play games this fall. According to last month’s update, the NEC President’s council will reconvene on Thursday, October 1 to assess the ongoing pandemic and see if it’s possible to provide not just the Warriors, but every team in the conference with some form of competition.

Other New England schools, including those that compete at both the Division II and III levels, will not be competing this fall, despite some athletic departments still not announcing that fall sports are canceled. But it is likely those announcements could come if not this week later this month once students return to campus.

At the end of the day, these are not easy decisions, so fans and football fanatics need to respect whatever is announced either today or over the next few days. Yes, no college football in the fall would seem strange, but if these decisions result in keeping the student-athletes safe, along with everyone else involved with college athletics safe and healthy, then we should applaud both the presidents and chancellors for making the right call.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Is Concerned About Fall Sports

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NCAA President Mark Emmert said no games will be played this fall without students back on campus. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan

As we continue to inch closer toward a brand new college sports season, specifically college football, there seems to be some concern from NCAA President Mark Emmert regarding what various seasons will look like this fall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recent podcast appearance on The Comeback: COVID-19 and the Return of Sports from The Athletic, Emmert told host Seth Davis that the current situation is “very, very fluid,” and that whatever happens with fall sports will certainly be different than prior years.

“What we do know for sure is whatever occurs it’s going to be different,” said Emmert, who previously stated during an NCAA Social Series last month on Twitter that college athletics could not occur if students were not on campus.

As for what the upcoming football season looks like, including here in New England, Emmert told Davis that it won’t be what “we’re custom to seeing it year in and year out.”

Earlier this week, we learned Bowdoin College would not be playing football this fall – maybe this spring? – while Morehouse College announced today that its cross country nor football teams would not be competing for Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships this fall. 

The Patriot League announced its plans for the upcoming fall sports season on Monday, which included guidelines for its seven members that play football. Teams will not be allowed to fly to away games while the league stated that “with rare exceptions, the regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.” 

Holy Cross, which captured the Patriot League crown last fall with a 24-0 victory over Georgetown University, shouldn’t have to fly too many games this fall as eight of its current contests, including three conference matchups, are scheduled to take place in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. However, the Crusaders’ season-opener against Merrimack College on Thursday, September 3 could be canceled due to the league not allowing its members to compete against non-conference foes until Friday, September 4. 

As of today, we are 10 weeks away from the first official weekend of college football in New England as well as 69 days away from watching a slew of teams kick-off their respective campaigns on Thursday, September 3, including Bentley University, University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst

Will games begin on time or be pushed back to later in September? Could we see games moved to October, November, or even December? What about pushing back the season until next spring? 

No matter what, Emmert knows the upcoming college sports season will look so much different than it has previously and may only feature conference or in-state contests along with a slew of regional games.

“Nobody can predict anything with certainty and so therefore you shouldn’t rule anything out,” said Emmert. 

“I certainly think that sitting here today that there will be football in the fall. I think it will be different in many respects whether it’s the audiences in attendance or not in attendance, whether it’s the nature of the schedule, whether it’s the length of the season – you know, all of those things will be different and certainly the protocol and the way the games are played and the healthcare that surrounding that has got to be different.” 

Daily Noontime: Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It is going to be another WARM day here in Boston, as well as outside the city, so get that morning walk or run in soon. Otherwise, you will have to wait until this evening when it will be a bit cooler (or less humid!).

As you know, the ‘Daily Noontime’ has officially returned, which means its time to dish out some headlines for the day.


Noontime’s Headlines for Tuesday, June 23, 2020

  • On Monday, Bowdoin College announced they would not be playing fall sports nor would its winter teams be competing until next year.We wrote about this announcement yesterday – along with some other fall sports plans, too – but we did hear from a source in Maine that it is possible the school’s fall sports teams could compete during the spring semester.
  • Also on Monday, we learned that UMass Boston will continue to offer remote learning this fall, which means the Beacons’ fall sports teams will not be competing for Little East Conference (LEC) titles. It is possible students – and maybe student-athletes – could return to campus at some point this fall, but a lot will depend on the impact the virus is making, both in and outside the city.Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman shared an update about plans for the fall semester on the school’s website yesterday – she did mention e-sports could be a way to keep students engaged and connected while studying remotely. Could we see a Beacons e-sports team this fall?
  • The Patriot League unveiled its plans for the upcoming fall sports season last night, which will certainly impact the seven schools that play football. According to Sports Illustrated‘s Pate Forde, non-conference games seem unlikely.Holy Cross, which competes in Patriot League, is currently scheduled to compete against five non-conference teams this fall, including Boston College and Harvard University. Maybe those games could happen since they would take place in-state. Additionally, the Crusaders are scheduled to commence their 2020 campaign in North Andover against Merrimack College.
  • Steve Politi of NJ.com has a great story about the upcoming Rutgers University football season – he asks the question why do we need to bring back student-athletes in the midst of an ongoing pandemic? Is it really worth the risk?
  • Middlebury College plans to welcome its students back for the fall semester, which will not include an October break. Students would depart campus around Thanksgiving and finish the semester remotely, as well as take their finals from their homes, as well.What does that mean for the upcoming Middlebury fall sports season? As of now, games remain scheduled, but the school said in last night’s announcement about the fall semester to “more details” will be unveiled in the coming weeks, so stay tuned Panthers fans!


Thanks for stopping by and starting your day with the Daily Noontime! Make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube – have a great day, everyone! 

Daily Noontime: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Can you believe this weather? I may call in sick and head to the beach – it is going to be close to 60 degrees today, which makes me pretty happy!

Before you head out to soak in some Vitamin D, enjoy a brand new ‘Daily Noontime’ – it is the best way to start your day!

Boston heads to Tampa Bay for an important early week match-up

  • The Boston Bruins return to the ice this evening for an important match-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is the first of two meetings this week – Tampa Bay will visit Boston on Saturday for an important contest.
  • Boston currently leads Tampa Bay in the standings by seven points so this would be an ideal night to pick up some more points with a win over a team the Black and Gold will most likely see in the postseason.

Could David Pastrnak win the NHL’s Hart Trophy? 

The Celtics welcome the Nets to Boston tonight 

  • The Boston Celtics will attempt to erase the memories of last Saturday’s one-point setback to the Houston Rockets when they entertain the Brooklyn Nets, who enter tonight’s contest with a 26-33 overall record.
  • Tonight marks the beginning of the stretch run – can you believe the NBA playoffs are right around the corner? – and you know Jayson Tatum will be ready to lead the Green and White to victory.

Tom Brady may not divorce the New England Patriots 

  • We’re anxiously waiting to find out where Tom Brady will play next season. I think he will return to the New England Patriots. And I also think he is not ready to divorce a team that he has enjoyed so much success with over the past 20 seasons.

Boston College wins its 17th Hockey East regular-season crown 

  • Boston College has won seven-straight contests and one of those wins (against rival Boston University) helped the men’s ice hockey team clinch its 17th Hockey East regular-season title. The Eagles will be at home for the quarterfinals, which begin next weekend.
  • This weekend, BC will play a home-and-home series with the University of New Hampshire.

The 18th Hockey East Women’s semifinals will take place this weekend 

  • The 18th Hockey East Women’s semifinals will take place this Saturday, March 7th at Merrimack College with Maine and Northeastern University skating in the first game at 12 p.m. followed by New Hampshire vs. Connecticut in the second game at 3:30 p.m.

UMass welcomes Albany to Amherst for an afternoon clash 

  • Fresh off an impressive three-goal (13-10) win over Yale University last Saturday, the UMass men’s lacrosse team will look to continue their momentum this afternoon when they host Albany for a 3 p.m. face-off.
  • UMass has won three of five contests this season, including two of their last three outings.

Massachusetts National Signing Day 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Wednesday was an exciting day for many local student-athletes who signed their national letter of intent to play college football next fall.

Below is a list of the local student-athletes who will be joining the various Massachusetts college football programs in a few months.

American International College (AIC) 

  • Tommy Caracciolo (Agawam, Mass. | Agawam High School | Running Back)

Assumption College 

  • Thomas Chenette (Cohasset, Mass. | Cohasset High School | Offensive Line)
  • Eric Dosenberg (New Bedford, Mass. | New Bedford High School | Offensive Line)
  • James Kernen (Plymouth, Mass. | Plymouth South High School | Offensive Line)
  • Hunter Murphy (Norton, Mass. | Norton High School | Tight End)
  • Tyler Reid (Needham, Mass. | Needham High School | Running Back)
  • Raekwon Washington (Newton, Mass. | Newton South High School | Running Back)

Bentley University 

  • Zach Goodwin (Easton, Mass. | Catholic Memorial | Defensive Line)
  • Vinnie Holmes (Mansfield, Mass. | Mansfield High School | Running Back)
  • Phil Koechling (Wayland, Mass. | Wayland High School | Offensive Line)
  • Nick Marciano (Mansfield, Mass. | Mansfield High School | Wide Receiver)
  • Liam Peck (Dover, Mass. | Xaverian Brothers | Offensive Line)
  • Nick Pucillo (Acton, Mass. | Acton-Boxborough | Linebacker)
  • Brett Pullman (Worcester, Mass. | Holy Name | Quarterback)
  • Joe Rivers (Lunenburg, Mass. | Lunenburg High School | Defensive Line)

Boston College

  • Kevin Pyne (Milford, Mass. | Milford High School | Offensive Line)
  • Ozzy Trapilo (Norwell, Mass. | Boston College High School | Offensive Line)

Holy Cross 

  • Dante Bolden (Springfield, Mass. | Springfield Central | Linebacker)
  • Matthew Duchemin (Haverhill, Mass. | St. John’s Prep | Defensive Back)
  • Martin Laham (Westwood, Mass. | Williston Northampton | Defensive Back)
  • Hunter Lane (Georgetown, Mass. | Georgetown | Tight End)
  • Bryan Pacific (Winchester, Mass. | Dexter South | Offensive Line)
  • Joe Rivers (Wakefield, Mass. | Bishop Fenwick | Defensive Back)

Merrimack College 

  • Nolan Gunning (King Phillip | Offensive Line)
  • Matt Sokol (Catholic Memorial | Kicker)

Stonehill Football

  • Gardner Cousins (Governor’s Academy | Linebacker)
  • Devin Fortes (Brockton High School | Defensive Back)


UMass 

  • Josh Atwood (Natick, Mass. | Natick High School | Defensive Line)
  • Ethan Mottinger (North Attleboro, Mass. | North Attleboro | Offensive Line)