LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech is still planning on a Sept. 5 start to its football season. But what the Texas Tech experience will be like inside Jones AT&T Stadium is still unknown.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, says uncertainty remains on what it will take to get players on the field and fans in the stands this fall.
“We’ve planned and we’ve worked. And I know some people have said we’re planning to plan but you can’t take all of these issues too seriously, seriously enough," Schovanec said. "They are so important to how we safely open up athletic events.”
Robert Giovannetti, senior associate athletics director for external operations and strategic communications for Tech Athletics, says decisions about COVID-19 restrictions, the fan experience and even the season schedule are out of his hands. And until they hear otherwise, it’s businesses as usual.
“We’re still proceeding with the plans that we’re going to start on Sept. 5. Our first game on the road, until we’re told differently, until we know differently,” Giovannetti said. "We don’t know any other way to operate.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has said he expects college football to start on time with at least some fans in the stands, according to The Texas Tribune.
Considerations like stadium capacity, paper-less tickets, social distancing and sanitation will likely be a part of the next-to-normal.
“We certainly are very mindful of health and safety and so we are not going to do anything that hasn’t been approved by the proper officials,"Giovannetti said.
Abbott also adds, in order to have a Sept. 5 season start, universities will need to decide by early August.
So that’s the goal for Tech football this season; a program Schovanec says is pivotal to all Tech Athletics, the university and the City of Lubbock.
“It’s also critically important to our entire athletic program. It represents maybe 80-85 percent of our revenue," Schovanec said. "So, we’re talking about a $93 million budget.”
Although the target is to have as traditional a season as possible, there are other options being discussed which include a shorter season or even splitting the season in two.
“I don’t think anybody right now would tell you exactly what the season is going to look like and that’s where some frustration comes in, I hear from people," Shovanec said.
But the decision won’t be Texas Tech’s alone.
And with all this uncertainty about the upcoming season, student athletes are expected to return to voluntary practice on June 15.
“We can’t move forward individually for how would assimilate our students on the campus and our student athletes but one school won’t make a decision about the football season,” Schovanec said.