The Tennessee Volunteers football program has enjoyed tremendous fortune on the recruiting trail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer is hoping the luck continues this fall.
Phillip Fulmer: Confident there will be a college football season, planning on full stadium
While the Tennessee Volunteers’ football program doesn’t have a positive COVID-19 case yet, many of their conference rivals haven’t been as fortunate. The University of Florida had 11 student-athletes contracted the virus, the LSU Tigers had more than a dozen positive tests and the Alabama Crimson Tide have eight confirmed cases.
Since the NCAA lifted its moratorium on voluntary workouts beginning June 1, schools across the country have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. It comes at the same time as multiple states are experiencing dramatic spikes in reported cases.
Despite it all, athletic director Phillip Fulmer remains confident that college football will be played this fall. Furthermore, he is planning on seeing more than 100,000 fans in Neyland Stadium on Saturdays.
“I am confident. I think we’ll play,” Fulmer said. “I don’t think anybody knows exactly yet what that will look like. We’re planning on a full stadium and adjust from there. If we don’t, we’re in trouble
In Tennessee, the state has reported more than 37,000 total cases and nearly 1,000 new cases were reported on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Knoxville County experienced its biggest one-day spike in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
Perhaps things will drastically improve by the time the college football season rolls around in September. Given the current data and a looming second wave of the virus, though, it seems far more likely there will be no fans in Neyland Stadium for the home opener.
Unfortunately, that might also be the best-case scenario for Tennessee. If that proves to be the case, the Volunteers and every other school will be in trouble.