The Patriot League on Monday released its guidelines for fall sports at member schools in the wake of the coronavirus.
The repercussions could be felt by the University of Hawaii football team.
Among the criteria are that no Patriot League teams will fly to competitions, and, with rare exceptions, regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel. Those protocols jeopardize the Rainbow Warriors’ scheduled home game Sept. 12 against Fordham. The New York City member of the FCS Patriot League is the third game on Hawaii’s slate.
UH is scheduled to open the season Aug. 29 at Arizona, a state in which coronavirus cases are reportedly rising, with hospitalizations reaching their highest levels yet during the pandemic. The Rainbow Warriors’ home opener is Sept. 5 against UCLA.
But Monday’s announcement by the Patriot League appears to be a sign that virus-related cancellations in major college football are set to begin.
According to Sports Illustrated, a spokesman from Fordham said its athletic department is still gathering feedback from the Council of Presidents decision and will make announcements soon about what it means for their fall sports.
The Patriot’s slate of games against FBS opponents also includes Colgate at Western Michigan and Bucknell at Army on Sept. 4; Lafayette at Navy on Sept. 12; and Colgate at Syracuse Sept. 19.
Patriot League commissioner Jennifer Heppel told Sports Illustrated on Monday that she is “reasonably optimistic” that the conference will play football and other fall sports, but is not ready to guarantee it.
“This is the million-dollar question,” she said. “If we can all be sitting around our Thanksgiving dinner toasting our Patriot League champions, everyone wins.”
According to the guidelines, athletes will return to campuses at the same time as regular students. Furthermore:
Patriot League competition will begin at the end of September, with the expectation that league play will be completed prior to Thanksgiving. Non-League competition will not begin prior to Friday, Sept. 4. Patriot League member institutions will confirm that nonleague competitors are following comparable health and safety protocols in advance of any contest.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald contributed to this report.