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Texas A&M Football

Ross Bjork remains optimistic amid concerns about start of football season

March 31, 2020
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Though some have predicted cancellation of the 2020 college football season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork remains optimistic the season will be played.

Speaking on a Tuesday conference call, Bjork said “doom and gloom” predictions like those made last week by ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit are way too premature.

Texas A&M’s football season is scheduled to begin on September 5 against Abilene Christian.

“To be talking about something that’s still five months away is still way too premature,” Bjork said. “There is not enough data. We don’t have the peak of this. To talk about what happens on Labor Day weekend at this point and time is way too premature.

“The president says we have April 30 to continue social distancing. What do the 30 days hold? The next 45?”

President Donald Trump has called for the country to continue “social distancing” until at least April 30. Athletic programs across the country have canceled spring sports, including spring drills.

Bjork said contingency plans are being made in case the football season is shortened, postponed or canceled. But again, he reiterated that it’s still too early to panic.

He said if and when football practices for the upcoming season resume, A&M will be in good shape because of coach Jimbo Fisher and an experienced roster.

“We’re not installing a new offense or defense. We have stability with our coordinators. We have a senior quarterback. That gives us some sense of calm with Jimbo leading the helm right now.”
- Ross Bjork

“We’re not installing a new offense or defense. We have stability with our coordinators. We have a senior quarterback (Kellen Mond),” Bjork said. “That gives us some sense of calm with Jimbo leading the helm right now.”

Bjork also expressed his support for the NCAA decision that allows athletes that participate in spring sports to get another year of eligibility.

However, Bjork doubts all the senior spring athletes will come back because most do not have full scholarships. Some have already made plans for grad school, some may have jobs lined up and some may have graduate assistant positions.

“We’ll work with our coaches and student-athletes on a case by case basis to figure out what the future holds for our senior class,” Bjork said. “Some have grad school or graduate assistant positions set up and may not come back.

“We always have exit meetings with our student-athletes. We have a little bit of time to work on this. Our coaches will formulate what they think is best. We’ll look at the financial impact, the student-athlete impact and make the right decisions.

“Some athletes we offer to come back might not want to. Everything will unfold over the next several weeks.”

Bjork said the cost for all the spring athletes to come back is about $560,000. That might seem like a small amount considering A&M’s athletic budget is between $150 and $160 million.

However, A&M will get less money from the SEC because of the cancellation of the lucrative NCAA men’s basketball tournament. More revenue would be lost if football games are canceled.

“Everything rises and falls on football,” Bjork said. “We’re being optimistic on everything. We think the next 30 days is very critical based on the medical experts we’re looking to and talking to.”


NOTE: Audio of Ross Bjork’s teleconference was provided to TexAgs courtesy of Zach Taylor of WTAW.

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Ross Bjork remains optimistic amid concerns about start of football season

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