Notre Dame made the obvious and inevitable official Thursday, suspending all spring football operations until further notice due to the continued spread of the coronavirus. The Irish were scheduled to resume practice Tuesday after players returned from spring break late Sunday.
Whatever the best-case scenario of that suspension may be, it will throw enough of a wrench into Notre Dame’s spring that the Blue-Gold Game, scheduled for April 18, was outright canceled.
“I have asked our student-athletes not to return to campus until further notice,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “With our student-athletes’ health and well-being at the forefront of our decision making, and given the rapidly changing environment surrounding COVID-19, this is best for all members of the Notre Dame Football family.”
The Irish will also halt all on-campus recruiting activities, Kelly said, including a major recruiting event next weekend.
The University extended spring break by a week on Wednesday, through March 20, and canceled all in-person classes until after Easter, moving to online-only courses to hopefully slow the infection rate of COVID-19.
“Father Jenkins and the university leadership team put a great deal of thought into the plan they laid out for Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “I agree that our football student-athletes should take the same precautions in an effort to reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus.”
To our team, our fans and to all – stay safe. pic.twitter.com/Eqxnm8XrmA
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) March 12, 2020
The University will reevaluate its post-Easter status no later than April 3, per Wednesday’s announcements. It is logical to presume the football program will follow in the steps of those decisions.
Hopefully, this decision will convey to all Irish fans the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and they will follow Notre Dame’s lead in taking proper precautions.