HUNTINGTON — While the NCAA has laid out plans to pave the way for football to return in 2020, one of the annual preseason events associated with the sport is changing its course.
On Tuesday afternoon, Conference USA announced its annual Football Kickoff and Media Days will shift from a live event to a virtual format.
The event was originally scheduled for July 22-23 at The Star in Frisco, Texas, but Conference USA said in a release that the dates for the 2020 Conference USA Football Kickoff will now be announced at a later time.
Exactly when that event is held largely depends on the NCAA’s decisions in regard to the 2020 college football season. Those decisions are expected to take shape over the next several weeks.
Last week, the NCAA Football Oversight Committee — for which West Virginia University Athletic Director Shane Lyons is the chairperson and Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick is a member — suggested a six-week period before the start of the regular season, which involves an acclimation period before official practice begins.
The 2020 season is slated to start with games on Aug. 29. Marshall is one of several FBS teams scheduled to play that day when the Thundering Herd opens the year at East Carolina.
For the season to start on time, teams would need to be back to practice by July 20, based on the NCAA Football Oversight Committee’s recommendation.
Should the league be able to start on time, it is likely that the C-USA media day would move up into early-to-mid-July.
If that six-week period is pushed back amid COVID-19 concerns, the event would also shift to a later time.
While the format will change, those involved will not. Coaches and players from each Conference USA program will take part in the virtual event, which previews the 2020 season, according to C-USA’s statement on Tuesday.
Conference USA is one of several conferences to switch its annual event from a live to a virtual format this week.
Other conferences that have done the same include the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference and Mid-American Conference — four of the five Group of Five conferences.
It is expected that the Power Five conferences will follow suit and also move to the virtual format.