Utah Football: Kyle Whittingham Addresses the Possibility of a Spring Season


University of Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham during a timeout in an NCAA Football game vs. UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 16, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


Even though the college football season was put on hold until spring 2021, head football coach Kyle Whittingham and the No. 22 ranked Utes are still trying to make the long offseason productive. 

This is unchartered territory for me and most of our coaches as far as here it is Aug. 25 or whatever and no football going on for us — no fall camp, no preparations for the season,” Whittingham said in a press conference on Tuesday. “And so it’s very unique, but we’re just forging ahead.”

While the 2020 season was formally postponed on August 11, the possibility of playing in the spring is still a 50/50 toss-up for Whittingham. But he did state that it is very important that the fall 2021 season starts on time and is played. 

Whittingham laid out how he would envision how a spring season feasibly could happen in the press conference. According to him, he believes that the Pac-12 could pull off a spring football season of sorts in late September or early October or November. 

“And then a fall camp, I guess you could call it equivalent, starting in early January,” Whittingham said. “And then starting games towards the end of January or the beginning of February. A five, six or seven game schedule that would put you towards the end of March.” 

Whittingham said that the conference could still have a championship game between the north and the south with this plan as well. 

“I know there is even some discussion about maybe bowls jumping on board and being available for something in the spring.” 

Whittingham said the idea of playing in the spring is still in the infancy stage, but things might start looking clearer in the next three or four weeks. But he did address what the limit of games should be as to not impact the fall 2021 season. 

“The one thing I would say is eight would have to be the absolute maximum number of games in spring in order to not impact a fall season,” Whittingham said. “I think more like five, six, or seven is probably a better number to ensure the players, with the wear and tear, and the physicality of a season are able to withstand it, then do it again starting at the end of August or September.”

While the Pac-12 or Big 10 won’t be playing come September the ACC, SEC and Big 12 will be playing prompting players to look into the possibility of transferring so they can play in the fall. As of Tuesday, Whittingham reported that he had not had any conversations with players about putting their names in the transfer portal looking to play this fall. 

With that in mind, Whittingham gave props to the NCAA who granted a blanket waiver last week stating that all players would receive an extra year of eligibility no matter if their school plays this fall or not. 

“Great decision by the NCAA to allow that, I know there was not much appetite to play an abbreviated spring season and have it count against their eligibility,” Whttingham said. “So when they made the determination that it would not count against them, that made it a whole different ball game for our guys.”

But he also addressed how the blanket waiver would affect the class of 2022, stating that the seniors on roster would not count towards the 85 total scholarships that the team has.

“What this is going to do is put an interesting spin on the class of 2022, because right now, the way I understand it is you’re going to have 85 scholarships available in the fall of 2021, not counting your seniors, so any seniors do not go into that count,” he stated. 

The way that Whittingham sees it, the 85 scholarships would go towards the freshmen, sophomores and juniors who would be on the roster. 

“So to clear space for your 2022 recruits, that’s going to be interesting because I don’t know how it’s going to go down. There’s talk about guys may move on and transfer if they don’t feel they’re part of your plans, but where are they going to transfer to?” he said. “Everyone is in the same boat, nobody really has any scholarships available. So this is really going to be impactful for the class of 2022 and if it does indeed go down the way they have it outlined, I really have no idea how it’s going to work, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”


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