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AD: Auburn staying patient amid COVID-19 uncertainties


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AD: Auburn staying patient amid COVID-19 uncertainties

By Tom Green | tgreen@al.com

3-4 minutes

Auburn University athletic director Allen Greene takes questions from the press Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at the Auburn Athletics Complex in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett/jbennett@al.com) Julie BennettJulie Bennett

Auburn athletics director Allen Greene has faced many questions over the last two months, but two have been asked far more frequently than the rest: When and what?

As the country has navigated the coronavirus pandemic this spring -- and with the sports world essentially ground to a halt -- the questions at the forefront for many fans has been when will sports return and what it will look like? It has been 58 days since the last Auburn sporting event -- a midweek baseball game against Wofford on March 11 -- and it remains to be seen just when the next one will take place. There have been no changes to the fall schedule at this time, but given the current circumstances and with sports leagues trying to figure out the best way to return to action, there are plenty of scenarios on the table that could alter when and how college sports start up again this fall.

Greene, in a video message to Auburn fans released by the program Friday evening, isn’t afraid to admit he doesn’t have all the answers in a rapidly changing landscape.

“When will we play college football, and what will it look like? To be honest, I don’t know the answer to either of those questions,” Greene said in the video. "But I do know that we’ll be ready to have you in Jordan-Hare Stadium. As we’ve said many times before, the healthy, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff and you, our fans, are our top priorities.

In the 4-minute video, Greene briefly addressed a handful of topics, including how Auburn’s student-athletes adjusted to online instruction, even as March Madness, as well as spring SEC and NCAA championships were canceled. He expressed gratitude for Auburn’s athletics staff in its efforts to serve student-athletes while being challenged to be “forward-thinking" while largely working remotely. According to Greene, Auburn has created multiple task forces to help meet those challenges.

Greene also spoke of how athletics administrators across the country have had continued discussions on how to navigate this pandemic, as well as discussions on Name, Image, Likeness and transfer legislation.

The most pressing topic, at least at this time, remains the timeline and parameters for when sports will return. Auburn is currently scheduled to open its 2020 football season Sept. 5 at home against Alcorn State, but several issues must be addressed before that can happen -- even as the state of Alabama continues its phased approach to reopening following a quarantine shelter-in-place period.

“There are many uncertainties, and we will be patient,” Greene said. “We’ll make the right decision at the right time."

RELATED: Gus Malzahn hopes to get ‘some kind of direction’ soon from SEC

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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