The NFL could take the step of filling the football void on Saturdays this fall if the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences interrupt the college season due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to several reports this week.
It is likely that the NFL will move some games during the regular season from Sundays to Saturdays if the football season for college does not take place, Pro Football Talk reported, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. It is currently unclear how many games can be played on Saturdays.
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Since most NFL teams are expected to play their home games without fans present, scheduling changes face few logistical obstacles. A move to Saturdays is likely for the NFL because TV slate is “wide open”
To broadcast games on Saturdays, the NFL would need to secure an exemption under the 1961 Sports Broadcasting Act. The law allowed the NFL to bundle and sell its television rights as long as it did not schedule games on Fridays and Saturdays during college and football seasons.
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The upcoming college football season is in doubt this week after the commissioners of the “Power Five” NCAA conferences discussed canceling games during an emergency meeting on Sunday. The majority of Presidents of Big Ten Conference Schools supported a cancellation or deferral and wanted to assess whether officials from the other conferences – ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – were willing to follow suit.
The possibility of a season break drew much criticism on Monday. A number of prominent figures, from Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence to President Trump, are pushing for the season to take place.
The NFL, for its part, is moving forward with plans for a traditional schedule this fall. The league has adopted strict security measures for coronavirus and has chosen to suspend all pre-season games this summer.
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