Chris Del Conte, the always-upbeat University of Texas athletics director, is confident there will be Longhorn football this fall.
"I'm fully optimistic," Del Conte said Tuesday in an interview with Austonia. "There will be football at DKR [Memorial Stadium] this fall."
But as of mid-May, the UT AD has no firm answers on what sort of impact the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will have in September. UT's season opener against South Florida, Sept. 5, still is on the calendar.
All Del Conte can do is plan for every scenario, whether that means robust business-as-usual for an athletic program that generated nearly $224 million in revenue last fiscal year; playing a modified schedule with or without fans in the stands; or a doomsday fall without football, the sport that pays most of the bills.
Del Conte said he has four committees working on issues relating to the athletes, staff, the games and game management when or if they're played. If football happens, chances are other fall sports—mainly women's volleyball and soccer—also will receive the go-ahead.
On March 12, the NCAA canceled all college sports competitions for the spring. Individual leagues, like the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences, then told schools that football teams couldn't conduct the traditional 15-session spring workouts that usually end with a giant scrimmage. The leagues also dictated how much interaction coaches could have with athletes, most of whom moved home after campuses closed. The restrictions will be reassessed by May 31.
As parts of the country are starting to reopen, so, too, is the sports world, with professional baseball, golf and basketball moving toward limited reopening.
So what about college football, which is celebrated across the state? There already are some parameters being set.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said last week he doesn't think football will be played at schools if campuses aren't open this fall.
"All of the commissioners and every president that I've talked to is in clear agreement," Emmert said in an interview posted on the NCAA's Twitter account. "If you don't have students on campus, you don't have student-athletes on campus. That doesn't mean it has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you've got to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. So if a school doesn't reopen, then they're not going to be playing sports. It's really that simple."
Del Conte said UT will be open this fall.
Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp told the Texas Tribune last week that Aggie students will be able to return to campus for fall classes—and football. Baylor and Texas Tech also are planning on reopening.
Coaches have indicated that in order to play football in the fall, the teams would need about six weeks of practice time. There would be about two weeks of orientation, or what the team missed in spring practices. The remaining time would be considered preseason training camp.
That means if the season is to start on time, players would have to be allowed back by mid-July.
Meanwhile, athletic directors are working on social-distancing plans for the games.
Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork, in a teleconference last week, said he's working on the following questions:
"How do we make people feel comfortable? What does social distancing look like, you know, come the fall? What are all the best practices and protocols that are out there? All those things are on the table, and we're constantly going through them, and again, these things are all fluid. The good thing is we do have time to make those decisions."
Del Conte said any plans are fluid, depending on how well the virus is controlled. But in mid-May, there is the luxury of time.
"We're not making any rash decisions at the University of Texas," Del Conte said. "We have an optimistic view, we'll be here in the fall."
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The Austin City Council on Friday unanimously approved a measure to add to the November ballot the massive $7.1B "Project Connect," a 20-year overhaul of Austin's transit system that would include a new light rail and "rapid bus" lines.
The council plans to add it to the ballot in a formal order next week, members said. Then it's up to voters to decide whether to approve it.
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Life was so sweet for live music junkies living in the Live Music Capital of the World—up until the venues closed, the stages went dark, and the world of Austin music closed down.
Miss your places? Miss your people? Miss blowing all your money on music?
Jagtronica Wednedsays, Purple Bee TV<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a2cab8a9562f05e4d4667d82dfca7bd"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KbeRftaXIZg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Interstellar grooves and psychedelic explorations improvised by a full band - live in the <a href="http://purplebeetv.org" target="_blank">Purple Bee</a> studios. Wednesdays 8 p.m.</p>
Patrice Pike Band Keep the Faith Livestream<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a94897344c627ae7362202afe441fa05"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/PatricePikeBand/videos/324002002065701" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>Iconic hard rock favorite unplugs in her home space. Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. </p>
Afro Jazz Saturdays at the Sahara Lounge<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5519cfcd8eee1dc9add8a63b3c1b66f"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/SaharaLoungeATX/videos/217338429591881" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>Join this East Austin gem of a bar for regular virtual live shows from the stage, including a regular online residency by African jazz musicians Ibrahim Aminou and Aboubacar Sylla. Saturdays 8 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/SaharaLoungeATX</p>
KUTX Livestreams<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="950f84e2286e0dc0304d59aa99edfbc1"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QNVfbrr_v0M?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>This local Austin-centric arm of KUT hosts various performance livestreams nearly every day of the week. Find their schedule here. </p>
Live in the Virtual Gallery with Bonnie Whitmore<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGY29udGVudCUyRjU2ZTVkNGU4MWQwN2MwNzQzZDI4MWQ2MyUyRjE1OTYxNDgzMjQ1MjctTlQ2VlFQM1ZNM0daR0VMNTQ1OEElMkZCVyUyQmF1Z3VzdC5wbmclM0Zmb3JtYXQlM0QxNTAwdyUyNmNvbnRlbnQtdHlwZSUzRGltYWdlJTJGcG5nJmhvPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGaW1hZ2VzLnNxdWFyZXNwYWNlLWNkbi5jb20mcz00OCZoPWQ0YmY4MjkzMTA2OTRkNjdjNzQ1ZmNhODhjNGQ3ZDI4YWY3YTE2ZDgyZjM3OTI4MjVkOGJmY2U3MTk0NjU2YWYmc2l6ZT05ODB4JmM9MTI2MDUxNzQxNiIsImV4cGlyZXNfYXQiOjE2NDg3MTY2NzJ9.J2ntaGHE00UZvxWETyI9XZ3xC3iC1nAAo8bk38ILkyA/img.jpg" id="72e14" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc34d23c5508b20dfea2642717052bfd" />August 2020 — Bonnie Whitmore
BettySoo's Nobody's Happy (Online and Isolated) Hour<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.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.gaEmnDK5F-J8rgXWUIAnXGHJOveE-ub3wm8UUPTLrhA/img.jpg" id="82829" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d4fa34ac0fa355da87c02e8572d3fe46" />BettySoo's Nobody's Happy Hour - Summer 2020
DJ Mel's Living Room Dance Party<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="45581c8bb0ae6cf0ddbe03e775d6825f"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=3446714958713944" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>A streaming staple practically since the day the venues shut down, DJ Mel Cavaricci (aka DJ Mel) spins from his living room. Saturdays 6-10p.m.</p>
Dreadneck Wednesdays from the Flamingo Cantina<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.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.Txy1LrSKsTPNG0dDU0xjlU2KkBu5cmcE8txaOdO8I_M/img.jpg" id="7c376" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebccf8a39ef46845384013bb233d0747" />Dreadneck Wednesdays Live Stream w/ Mau Mau Chaplains
James McMurtry's Wednesday residency<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="46c8760066753cce717a6a3335d5f43d"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/8637988681/videos/608632053134073" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>A fixture on the alt-country music scene in Austin and beyond, McMurtry brings his weekly residency at Continental Club home to you (from his place) with opening acts. Wednesdays 8 p.m. </p>
Not at Donn's Depot<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8a0b32db58eccac4a2695a8eb2f4747"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/chrisgageaustin/videos/10159892023859008" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>The slightly obvious but oh-so-telling title for pianist Chris Gage's Monday livestream, where he tickles the ivories from his home studio, joined occasionally by wife Christine Albert, and recreates his popular and long-running Monday residency at Donn's. Mondays 8 p.m. </p>
Jackie Venson<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d41a9251d5c15ad731ae31c77455a79a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/43xotR5fRNM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Austin born-and-bred singer songwriter, brings her guitar and her truth-telling music to her live-streaming page. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. <a href="https://jackievenson.com/livestream/" target="_blank">https://jackievenson.com/livestream/</a></p>
The Austin Justice Coalition is clearly frustrated with city leadership, which has not responded to its request to cut $100 million in funding from the Austin Police Department and remove Chief Brian Manley (or make him resign).
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The Austin Independent School Board delayed the school year to Sept. 8 in an early-Friday vote, giving teachers three more weeks to prepare for online learning and the community more time to see a drop in COVID-19 cases before students, faculty and staff return to the classroom.
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The group behind a petition to put a citywide public-camping ban on the November ballot in Austin said Thursday that they were "engaging a highly respected local Democratic litigator" in their efforts to fight a city ruling earlier in the week that their petition did not enough valid signatures.
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David Frost, 22, had never attended a protest before the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in May. Then the cell phone-wielding Austinite became a key player in a series of events that touched off major change in the Austin Police Department.
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