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Texas A&M Football

Bjork, A&M officials remain encouraged by latest coronavirus statistics

May 5, 2020
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On Tuesday, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork indicated he was becoming more encouraged at the possibility of starting the college football season on schedule.

The Aggies’ football season is scheduled to begin on September 5 against Abilene Christian at Kyle Field. Football season is vital for the local economy and A&M’s athletic budget. Bjork said ticket sales and donations account for about half of A&M’s athletic budget.

However, the nation-wide shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – which has caused more than 65,000 deaths in the United States according to the CDC – has put the season in jeopardy.

“We're planning like we're going to play,” Bjork said. “I think there's great data in terms of how our healthcare system is holding up here in the state of Texas, and we hope those trends continue as we know that as we do reopen we'll have to monitor this very closely and follow all the news out there.

“But I'm optimistic and very hopeful that we're going to play [a full season]. We want fans in the stands. And that's how we're looking at this whole thing for us following up on that.“

According to worldometers.info, 16,665 have recovered from COVID-19 in Texas, which is more than the number of active cases (15,973).

“But I'm optimistic and very hopeful that we're going to play [a full season]. We want fans in the stands. And that's how we're looking at this whole thing for us following up on that.“
- Ross Bjork

This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that allowed some businesses – which have been closed since March – to reopen in at least some capacity.

Also, last week Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp set a goal for reopening classes for the fall semester and starting the football season on time. Further, Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek laid out a plan to start football on time and reopen weight room and training facilities on June 1. On Monday, the University of Missouri began a gradual move toward reopening by resuming operations in its Memorial Stadium South End Zone building.

The Southeastern Conference has suspended all athletic activities until May 31.

Bjork did not say when A&M might reopen its athletic facilities, though he did indicate that he’d want to open them if private gyms and fitness centers were able to reopen.

"We don't know what Governor Abbott will do in the state of Texas, but if something happens between now and May 31 … I think we would want our student-athletes in our facilities versus being out, you know, in the community,” Bjork said. “We feel like we could safeguard them here. We’ve got to see what the governor decides here for us. We have to decide as an SEC what happens on June 1.”

On a different topic, Bjork reiterated he had no intention of resuming the football series with the University of Texas despite calls from the media and some Texas fans to do so.

“There's been nothing formal, nothing official,” Bjork said. “We haven't moved any conversations, and our position remains the same that we're focused on other things right now. If that happens, let's make it happen in the College Football Playoff.”

A&M’s policy is to schedule one Power 5 non-conference opponent every season. The Aggies are scheduled to face Colorado this season and next, Miami in 2022 and 2023, Notre Dame in 2024 and 2025 and Arizona State in 2026 and 2027.

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