Football can start preseason practices 29 days before the first game which is September 5 and field hockey is scheduled for a game at Rappolt Field in late August and therefore, preseason could start 21 days before that. In field hockey, there will no doubt be preseason scrimmages with real opponents early in August. The bottom line is, preseason is less than two months away and most Patriot League schools have already announced their fall opening plans. ( Colgate has yet to give details on their opening). Lafayette will start classes on August 17, and presumably will have several days of orientation for the first year students. The implications are, first year players might not only lose part of two a day sessions but may even, in the case of field hockey, miss a preseason scrimmage.
However, this is all speculation since the Patriot League is in a shrinking minority in Division One, having not announced intentions, if not detailed organizational plans for the fall. The CAA, A-10, Big East and Big Ten have announced organizational changes for the fall to save travel money. Lafayette football has a scheduled game with Sacred Heart the week before the game with Navy ( a pay for play game), so fitness and operational competence on the field will be important. ( Navy was originally scheduled to play Notre Dame in Ireland but has changed the date and venue, now to be played at Annapolis the week before the Lafayette game).
No doubt shifting conferences structures will result in changes to previous scheduling commitments, and there is caution on the part of Patriot League officials to announce schedules, until the scheduling chess game is clear. In talking to coaches in other conferences, that rescheduling shuffle is already going on.
There is concern in some quarters as to how to handle spectators. Holy Cross for example, is stating they would restrict access to the campus. Will that mean visiting spectators will be limited or barred?? Lafayette has cancelled commencement because, even if Lafayette and Northampton County is classified “green” there is a limit on gatherings to only 250 people in Pennsylvania. One wonders if that means that Penn State’s 100,000 plus Beaver Stadium will only be allowed to have 250 fans!! I doubt it!!! Will Lafayette field hockey, soccer and football games have to have passes for only 250?? Again it makes no sense especially for outdoor venues!!
The unspoken issue may be returning players. How many student athletes will opt for a gap year and how many foreign players will not be able to travel??
The sooner the Patriot League decides to get off the fence, the sooner questions can be answered. The academe is not used to change and uncertainty, and decisions might have to be made without perfect knowledge. Another week with students, coaches and fans in the dark will make an for uncertain fall.
It is time………….