Michigan coach Erik Bakich (Aaron Fitt)

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Coaches Already Preparing For Various 2021 Scheduling Models

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With the college football season no longer hanging in the balance for most Power Five conferences and college basketball getting a season framework approved by the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday, we’re getting closer to knowing college baseball’s fate from a structural standpoint.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that situations and seasons can change on a dime. But I can tell you that the winds of change in college baseball, and for spring sports, at the moment, point a positive direction.

It wasn’t long ago — two or three months — that some coaches and athletic directors were bearish on a 2021 college baseball season happening. Some cited virus concerns, while others pointed to budgetary issues as a reason why college baseball and softball might not be played. That scenario appears highly unlikely at this point. As a matter of fact, the word we’ve gotten from various high-level sources isn’t if the season will be played … more of what will the season look like?

That’s a step forward considering what this country, and sport, has been through since March. But as always, there’s a caveat. College football must continue without being shut down. That’s unlikely to happen as schools have taken necessary precautions with COVID-19 and the evolution of rapid antigen testing has sparked more optimism amongst administrators. It also helps that the medical industry as a whole has gotten a much better grasp on the virus in terms of treatments and testing procedures.

The Big Ten, for instance, announced the return of football, largely because of a new rapid test system that can actually detect coronavirus before the infected person is contagious. That’s a mind-blowing development. The Pac 12, which also has reached a deal to implement league-wide rapid, daily testing, suddenly has momentum for a return to football as well with Oregon governor Kate Brown saying Wednesday that Oregon and Oregon State could begin football workouts, while California governor Gavin Newsom showed a willingness to get the ball rolling on California’s Pac 12 institutions beginning football workouts. More details on other fall sports besides football are coming soon.

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