With some of Temple’s sports scheduled to open in less than three weeks and the football team having a Sept. 26 opener, interim athletic director Fran Dunphy says the teams are preparing to play at this point.
“We’re full speed ahead,” Dunphy said on Monday in a Zoom interview with reporters. “That is what we are acting like.”
Dunphy also cautioned that things could change day to day because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Temple competes in the American Athletic Conference in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s cross-country and women’s cross-country in addition to football.
The Owls’ field hockey team is a member of the Big East, which earlier announced it would not be playing this fall.
Earlier this month, the AAC announced that men’s and women’s soccer and cross-country could schedule nonleague games as early as Sept. 1.
For women’s volleyball, three weekends will be available for nonconference opportunities, on or after Sept. 1.
In football, the AAC said that conference schedules can begin on Sept. 19 and the 11 teams will play eight conference games. They could schedule as many as four nonconference games.
At this point, Temple’s opening game is Sept. 26 at Navy.
Temple has had its four nonconference football games canceled. The Owls were supposed to play at Miami on Sept. 5, host Idaho on Sept. 12 and Rutgers on Sept. 19 and visit UMass on Oct. 10.
Dunphy says discussions with schools about picking up nonconference games are ongoing.
“We’ve talked to a number of other teams who have given us some indication that we might be able to play,” Dunphy said. “But right now, where are we are is having eight league games, and we have some open dates and we’re trying to fill some of those.”
It appears if Temple does schedule any nonconference games, it would be with Football Bowl Championship schools instead of Football Championship Subdivision schools.
Dunphy said that Temple has had discussions with Miami and Rutgers about making up the games that were canceled this year. Temple has a home-and-home deal with Miami, with the Hurricanes to visit Temple on Sept. 23, 2023.
This was the first year of a four-year deal between Temple and Rutgers. Temple will visit Rutgers next year and in 2023 and host the Scarlet Knights in 2022.
As for whether fans could attend games, Dunphy said that is basically out of his hands. “The city will tell us what are our marching orders,” he said.
Dunphy said all athletes are being tested for COVID-19 once a week and said there may be an edict that could make it twice a week.
This weekend, information came out of Yale University on a saliva-based COVID-19 test that received FDA Emergency Use Authorization. It’s expected to be a less expensive and less invasive test.
“In all honesty, it could be a game changer if it works and ... it sounds like this is one of those tests that is going to help us down the line here,” Dunphy said. “It may not be the only test that we will take, but it will be one of the tests that we take, and it may help us greatly.”
If a student-athlete does test positive, Dunphy explained what the protocol is.
“There is immediate contact tracing, immediate isolation, the quarantine piece, they will have to go into that,” he said. “There are a lot of protocols that we’re following and I think our doctors and our trainers have done just a phenomenal job with treating our student athletes at this point, specifically in football who’s been at it longer than anybody else has at this point. But quarantining and the isolation are very much a part of somebody having this virus.”