Alabama Crimson Tide: We all want football back but in what setting

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

What setting will the Alabama Crimson Tide play in this fall?

Many Alabama Crimson Tide fans want no part of this conversation. That is understandable. Writing it brings no satisfaction. But the reality is Governors and Mayors and schools must make decisions soon. A reminder virus concerns deserve attention has been positive test results of around eight Crimson Tide players.

For the Alabama Crimson Tide and other SEC schools, any fall seating adjustments have not been made public. That too is understandable. Football games are 11-12 weeks away. Anticipation and optimism are not unwarranted. Even while the counts of new, daily cases in Alabama surge upward.

While Alabama Crimson Tide, stadium contingency plans remain closely held, others are speaking out. Republican Governor, Greg Abbott of Texas does not expect full stadiums in the fall. Abbott opened up to stadiums in Texas to 25 percent capacity late last month. About a week later, he opened them more to 50 percent. Some areas of Texas have seen a recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Abbott has not issued any new restrictions for the general population. Face masks and social distancing are encouraged but the state is open for business.

Abbott had a conference call with the state’s Athletic Directors a few days ago. What he said dampens optimism for full stadiums this fall. According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, Abbott told the ADs,

"not to expect capacity at their stadiums to be above 50% this fall, a person with knowledge of the call told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make details of the meeting public."

The same unnamed source shared a more troubling perspective from Abbott.

"It would take either a vaccine or a drastic drop in cases for capacity to increase beyond 50% and that schools should not count on either development by the time the football season starts."

Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey’s opinion is not known. It is possible she will let Mayors and University officials make decisions for their stadiums. Alabama and Auburn may have different restrictions. There is no indication the SEC will do more than advise.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox has also been silent. He was one of the first mayors in the state to mandate sanctions intended to stop spread of the virus. For over two months, results in Tuscaloosa county indicated Maddow made the correct decision. On April 28, the cumulative case county in Tuscaloosa was 199. On June 13, that number has grown to 1,239. Details on COVID-19 in Alabama can be found here.

The closely watched ‘doubling time’ for cases has dropped significantly in Tuscaloosa county. The county is now one of 13 Alabama counties where case counts are doubling in two weeks or less.

What fall will hold can only be a guess. Given the logistics required, schools and elected officials have maybe a month to announce plans. Barring an unexpected explosion of virus cases, there will be football. The Alabama Crimson Tide basketball season is also likely to happen. Though, making an indoor venue safe is harder than an outdoor stadium.

Check out this related story. Some teams need fans more than others.

The University of Houston did not test all players returning to campus for voluntary workouts. Last Friday, the school suspended voluntary workouts after discovering six players were symptomatic. The school said quarantine and contact tracing procedures are taking place.

All of us want Alabama Crimson Tide football and basketball back. But Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News had wise advice about future decisions on spectator attendance.

"… those decisions will involve accommodating reality, not pretending certain realities that we do not like therefore do not exist."

Next. Predicted Surprise Starters for the Tide. dark

An almost guaranteed reality is there will be football this fall. Will Bryant-Denny have a 101-plus thousand capacity, or much lower? Will the only spectators be Tide Pride season ticket holders?