The Cal State university system is planning for the Fall 2020 semester to be primarily a virtual experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to higher education reporter Mikhail Zinshteyn. On Tuesday, CSU Chancellor Tim White said exceptions will be made for hands-on courses, but concern over additional waves of infections make in-person learning too dangerous.
The Cal State system will not be the only universities to use primarily a virtual experience this fall, but it is the biggest domino to fall. Other colleges and universities are announcing plans, but this covers 23 colleges, including some high profile ones.
For the purposes of sports, the most notable schools in the CSU system are Fresno State, San Diego State, and San Jose State. They are not football powers, but they are still notable Group of Five schools. Additionally, the University of California system is likely at least considering a similar measure. If the UC system decided to follow suit, you’d have Cal and UCLA from the Pac-12 without students on campus.
None of this means college sports won’t return in the fall, but it does not bode well considering conference commissioners told Mike Pence they wouldn’t feel comfortable playing football until campuses are open. Plenty can change, but given their constant fight that “student-athletes” are not employees, it’s a fight they likely don’t want to get into further.
At the same time, with a host of other colleges and universities considering returns sooner than later, there is a lot to be sorted out. June should bring us more insight with virtual conference meetings in the offing.