ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he would be "shocked" if the NFL or college football began their regular seasons this fall due to the lack of a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking on ESPN Radio, the "College Gameday" star questioned how it would be permissible to open locker rooms or "let stadiums be filled up" amid public health concerns.
“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football,” Herbstreit said in comments highlighted by TMZ. “I’ll be so surprised if that happens.”
“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, [say] you're 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it,” Herbstreit added. “Next thing you know you got a locker room full of guys that are sick. And that’s on your watch? I wouldn’t want to have that."
“As much as I hate to say it, I think we’re scratching the surface of where this thing’s gonna go," he said.
"For now, nobody knows. But for all of the optimism emanating from 345 Park Ave., other folks involved in football clearly hold serious doubts about any football being played this calendar year," he concluded, referring to the NFL's headquarters.
Almost all major American sports outside of horse racing — including Major League Baseball, the NBA, NCAA college basketball, the PGA, NHL, MLS, NASCAR and XFL — have all seen their seasons postponed or canceled in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the country.
The NFL has continued to conduct its offseason business as a flurry of trades and signings, including six-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have helped fill the sports news void somewhat.
The league's college draft is still set for April 23 in Las Vegas, which will not include a live audience as has been the case for decades.
The U.S. death toll from coronavirus currently stands at 1,380 with the overall number of cases reaching nearly 93,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.