SYRACUSE, N.Y. - With the fate of the NCAA Division I FBS season in doubt, Syracuse is focusing on business as usual, as much as they can during a pandemic, until they are told otherwise.
After players sat out the first couple of days of practice for training camp due to concerns over opponents' coronavirus procedures, the team returned to the field on Saturday for a pair of practice days over the weekend.
With so much uncertainty surrounding them, getting back on the football field allowed the Orange to find some sense of normalcy.
"Practices have been amazing," said head coach Dino Babers via Zoom video conference on Monday. "Based on all the other stuff that's gone on, I almost feel like it's been a release that they can lose themselves and do something they really enjoy with a bunch of guys that are all COVID free. The practices we've been able to do have been some of the best practices we've had in a long time."
The first weekend on the turf came amid the growing potential of the season crumbling down before it even really begins.
According to reports, the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences (ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12) called an emergency meeting, Sunday, to discuss growing concern that it may not be feasible to hold a season with decisions regarding possible postponements or cancellations hanging in the balance.
More reports surfaced, Monday, that the Big Ten is expected to announce the cancellation of its season following a vote from its presidents council, though nothing has been made official just yet.
There are also reports that the Pac-12 presidents council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to vote on the fate of the season.
SOURCE: Pac-12 ADs and coaches met with Larry Scott tonight. League presidents are expected to vote Tuesday on whether the Pac-12 will postpone the fall season, delay or proceed.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) August 11, 2020
Later in the day, the Mountain West, a non-Power 5 conference, did decide to postpone its season in the fall with the possibility it will play football in the spring.
The Orange had a scheduled day off on Monday, and are set to resume practice on Tuesday. As far as Babers is concerned, they will continue to prepare as normal until they are told otherwise.
"[We're] status quo right now," he said. "Our conference is saying it's a go and until they tell us it's not, we are going to get ready to play some football. If they say go, we go; if they say no, we don't."
As of Monday night, the ACC has not announced any decision regarding further changes to the football season.
According to Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield, the conference is planning on playing regardless of what other conferences decide to do.
Satterfield “The ACC is moving forward no matter what other conferences do”
— Kent Taylor (@KentTaylorWAVE) August 10, 2020
Babers addressed that possibility that the ACC could decide to play even if others choose not to, saying he is still confident they can get a meaningful season in.
"These conferences are all individual," Babers said. "There is always a domino effect, but you can have a conference that says, 'hey we are going to play no matter what' and they play. So once again until they tell us that we can't, we are going to act like we can and our job is to get ready and give everybody the opportunity to watch college football."
Babers also addressed the protocols and precautions the Orange players, coaches, staff and school officials are taking in order to promote health and safety again reiterating, Monday, that if there were a national championship held for COVID testing results, he's confident Syracuse would be in the final four playoff.
He also doubled down on his support for anyone who decides to opt out of this season due to health concerns, saying that as a family, football teams need to respect a decision made one of their own with regard to their best interests.
Within the past couple of days, many players from around college football, such as Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, have voiced their desire to play.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 10, 2020
Babers acknowledged that he read some of those comments, but declined to weigh in because he wouldn't want other coaches to speak about any of his players.
As of now, the Orange are scheduled to begin their 11-game regular season on Saturday, September 12 at North Carolina.