While the coronavirus pandemic has brought college sports to a halt this spring, the College Football Playoff staff is still planning for a regularly scheduled season and postseason events, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Monday.
"We're planning on a CFP," he said. "That's what our staff is doing as we speak. Planning for it on time."
When asked what would happen if there wasn't a season, Hancock said, "It's too soon to speculate."
"It's only April," he said. "It's just too soon. It's premature. The decision about whether to have a season and a CFP won't be made by the coaches and commissioners. It will be made by the medical people. We have to be prepared, and we will be prepared, to have a CFP."
COVID-19 has shut down universities and their football programs across the country, with no current timetable to return. Hancock said there currently isn't any particular benchmark date to make major decisions by, but that the planning period for organizing the playoff "is extensive," and that the staff is currently finishing the budgeting process. They also have to design and purchase décor, lease buses, secure hotels, contract for services with the media, and complete a variety of other planning the public doesn't usually see.
"There's a long ramp-up time for this," he said. "Could it be shorter? Sure. What is it? I don't know. Would it be the same? No, it wouldn't be the same. I can promise you the Super Bowl people are knee deep into Tampa prep right now. Knee deep. We all do the same thing. We're all very deliberate about our planning. Could we do it without that ramp-up time? Yes."
Hancock said the CFP doesn't currently have any task force or committee dedicated to monitoring or planning for the issues that could arise from the coronavirus, and that the CFP hasn't taken any cost-cutting measures yet, but "we're looking at ways to save expenses, just like everyone is in college athletics."
The annual CFP spring meetings, which are typically in Irving, Texas, will be held via video conferencing early next week, but no major announcements are expected.