Harbaugh: Empty stadiums better than no games

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he would be comfortable playing games in empty stadiums as college football attempts to hold the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Other sports, including Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL, have discussed returning to play games in front of no fans, and Harbaugh was asked about that scenario Wednesday during an interview with ESPN’s Get Up.

“Heck yeah, I’d be comfortable coaching a game without any fans,” Harbaugh said. “If the choice were play in front of no fans or not play, then I would choose to play in front of no fans.

“… Darn near every guy I’ve talked to on our team, that’s the way they feel about it.”

Harbaugh made multiple references to the need for testing for his players and staff.

Michigan Stadium, famously nicknamed “The Big House,” holds over 107,000 fans, and Harbaugh doubts a capacity crowd could be safely tested before a game.

“You can definitely test both teams. You can test the officials and everybody,” Harbaugh said. “Can you test 100,000 fans coming into a stadium? Probably not — probably not without a vaccine, you couldn’t do that.”

The Big Ten Conference has suspended all team activities through June 1, and the NCAA will not mandate or oversee a return to sports.

The college football season is tentatively scheduled to start Aug. 29, and Harbaugh says the Wolverines are preparing as if they’ll be playing games this fall.

“As far as the season, everybody’s preparing like there’s gonna be one,” he said. “Not even thinking in the way that there wouldn’t. So, getting ourselves ready, getting prepared.”

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