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UA president Robert C. Robbins on football's fall return: 'My sense is, right now, I just don't see that happening'
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UA president Robert C. Robbins on football's fall return: 'My sense is, right now, I just don't see that happening'

'It just seems as though if we do play any football in the fall, it's going to be delayed,' UA president says in radio interview.

University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins said in a radio interview Wednesday that he’s “really concerned” about whether college football will be played this fall, and that the UA is still awaiting guidance from the NCAA in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Robbins told "The Buckmaster Show" on 1030-AM that while the UA is planning to hold in-person classes starting in August, he's “really concerned about whether we’re going to be playing football in the fall."

“My sense is, right now, I just don’t see that happening,” he said. 

Robbins is both a medical doctor and arguably the Wildcats’ most high-profile sports supporter. Robbins especially has an affinity for football, the sport he played in high school. (Robbins was a quarterback of note who had planned to walk on at Ole Miss before suffering a knee injury).

Robbins told host Bill Buckmaster that he has heard “nothing” from the NCAA about whether games will go on as planned; the season could also be delayed or canceled entirely depending on the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus. The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments last month, following the lead of leagues — like the Pac-12 — that called off their own conference tournaments. The Pac-12 suspended and then canceled all spring sports competition. 

When it comes to the Wildcats playing football, “as much as I want it, it just seems as though if we do play any football in the fall, it’s going to be delayed,” Robbins said.

Any season would have to be blessed by the Pac-12, which includes two states — California and Washington — that have instituted strict quarantine guidelines in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said last week that sporting events and concerts are unlikely in his city until 2021.

Arizona is scheduled to open its season on Aug. 29 with a home game against Hawaii. The Wildcats’ 2020 schedule includes road trips to five different states — Texas, California, Washington, Oregon and Utah.

Listen to the audio of Robbins' interview with Buckmaster here.

Contact sports editor Ryan Finley at 573-4312 or rfinley@tucson.com. On Twitter @ryan_finley

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