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NFL weighs expanding Saturday schedule if college football season is delayed

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The National Football League is reportedly considering playing additional regular-season games on Saturdays this fall should the college football season be delayed or canceled.

The NFL generally does not play on Saturdays early in the season, in large part to avoid a clash with the highly-popular college game.

Early this month, however, the commissioners of the major college football conferences told US vice president Mike Pence that college sports cannot return from the Covid-19 pandemic sports shutdown until university campuses have reopened.

“(We) made the point we were concerned and wanted to get back to having kids attending college and opening up our colleges and universities,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “That until that happened we weren’t going to be having any sports.”

There remains huge concern that there there may not be a college season due to the health crisis and as such, the NFL is looking to fill in the void, according to the New York Post.

The NFL has already had preliminary discussions with its broadcast partners about the idea, the report says, but the proposal remains in its infancy due to the numerous factors required to make it a reality.

Currently, the NFL schedules Saturday games during a handful of more open December dates between the end of the college football regular season and start of that entity’s bowl season.

The recent extension of a “Thursday Night Football” streaming deal with Amazon, includes a new element in which Prime Video and Twitch will gain exclusive rights to one of these late-season Saturday games in the 2020 regular season.

The 2020 schedule is expected to be released by May 9 when more details are likely to be revealed. It is not known what alterations will be needed due to the public health crisis, though the NFL like every other major US sports property is weighing multiple resumption scenarios including delaying its usual schedule that runs from early September to early February, and playing without attending fans.

A planned NFL owners’ meeting in May will now be held virtually, the league has revealed.