It's been a daily, hourly, question and for good reason: Will North Dakota State play football this fall?
I've been of the popular notion that the pros have to make it work first. Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA need to have good Julys and Augusts for college football to have a chance at some sort of a regular season.
This morning is not a good sign.
The Miami Marlins have reportedly had multiple players test positive for the coronavirus and the Marlins' game with Baltimore tonight has already been canceled. The cringe can probably be felt in the Missouri Valley Football Conference league office and the administration wing of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex at NDSU.
The next two to three days are crucial for college football. How will MLB handle the Marlins' situation? If it can somehow plow through this mini-crisis, maybe there's a chance. What if Miami has to shut down for two weeks? Or maybe the Marlins have enough farmhands and play the next two weeks with minor leaguers.
Fargo's Erik Swanson has been in Tacoma, Wash., working with the AAA Rainers. If the Seattle Mariners have something go awry, Swanson will be ready. Perhaps the Marlins have the same situation going with their AAA guys.
College football can only hope so. NDSU can only hope so. The Missouri Valley will forge ahead as long as it can; that is pretty much a certainty. The fact Southern Illinois scheduled Kansas last week for a Week Zero game at the end of August says as much.
NDSU is in phase 3 of the four-phase NCAA re-entry program this week, with scheduled walkthroughs with coaches. Fall camp starts next week. The NCAA Board of Governors, which has the power to shut it all down, meets again Aug. 4.
I'm sure the Board of Governors will be looking at Miami all week. This is a big day for the virus and football. As national college football writer Dennis Dodd tweeted this morning, "Potentially impacts college sports (cfb) tremendously."