BOONE — To play collegiate athletic events or not to play?
That will be the question that universities and the states they are located in will have to answer once the all-clear is given by presiding governments either on a federal or state level.
Then the universities will have to decide if it is ready to start playing games, most likely beginning with fall sports.
Appalachian State has a full slate of football games involving programs outside of North Carolina. The lone opponent located inside North Carolina is Wake Forest, which hosts Appalachian State on Sept. 11.
Even if the NCAA lifted the suspension of athletic events nationwide, and even if North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper lifted any social distancing restrictions for North Carolina teams, Appalachian State could not play the teams from other states if those colleges or state governments don’t allow those teams to participate.
Gillin also said if an out-of-state program has been cleared to play by its state government, App State won’t play if the university has not given its approval.
“Even for NCAA or college football, you can say that we’re ready to play and another state may not be ready,” Appalachian State Athletic Director Doug Gillin said. “As we look to return to play that’s going to be really interesting for intercollegiate athletics because some states may be at different stages at different times. As an example, the NCAA may say ‘XYZ’ is ready to go, but if the university leadership says we’re not ready to go, we’re not ready to go. And if the state says we’re not ready to go, we’re not ready to go.”
The NCAA shut down athletics in March, which included the men’s and women’s basketball championships, the national wrestling championships and all spring sports.
Nothing has been decided about fall athletics, which would affect football, volleyball, men’s and women’s cross-country, field hockey and men’s and women’s soccer.
Gillin said several factors would go into play for consideration of offering fall athletics at Appalachian State. Students have been taking classes online, but Gillin said athletics won’t likely return unless the students return to campus.
“We know summer school is online for the next two semesters,” Gillin said. “We also know that the fall for student-athletes to come back, the students have to come back. When you look at college athletics, it’s hard to imagine participating in college athletics unless the students are back on campus.”