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BTP The Offseason, Day 26: Hop to it

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Children Playing Hopscotch in Street, London, ca. 1950 Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

As schools figure out how to make things work in this new financial reality, it could be we’ll see a significant change in scheduling approach. Saving money on travel with more games against regional opponents would be the obvious solution, and perhaps that will mean more contests with schools in busing distance.

App State athletics director Doug Gillin spoke about a number of challenges in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, and scheduling is on his list:

“We might be only able to afford you get up in the morning and you go play and you come back home,” Gillin said. “Those are the types of decisions you talk about that the budget influences, but is also really smart.”

While I’d hate to give up some of the home-and-homes that NC State has set up for football in particular, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have App or East Carolina on the schedule more frequently. Schools could also get creative with non-conference games against conference opponents, like the UNC-Wake game that was played this past season. Duke is an obvious candidate for State—though the Blue Devils are already on the 2020 slate—but we could go so far as scheduling UVA or Virginia Tech as well.

The problem everybody’s going to encounter is that individual states aren’t all going to be in the same place in terms of readiness. Maybe everybody in North Carolina has the all clear, for instance, but situations in, say, Mississippi or Alabama might prevent, oh let’s say, Mississippi State and Troy from playing football in the fall.

There are contracts in place, of course, and those would create their own headaches to work around, but maybe in the near term, we’ll have to re-think scheduling as a fluid process.

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Hopscotch in England in the 1950s:

When winter passes and the summer sun begins to dry London’s roads and pavements, schoolchildren take it as a signal to appear armed and ready for street games. Pieces of chalk for hop-scotch, jackets for goalposts, washing lines for skipping and various other improvisations are produced that will provide sport and entertainment after school hours and during the holidays. In this photograph, children are seen playing hop-scotch, one of the fixed festivals of any town life. Finding a place to play is never a problem, but some neighbours do not appreciate their artistic efforts.