Taylor, the former VUU, Hampton and Florida A&M coach who was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame last year, said his cautious approach is related not only to student-athletes. He thinks about professors, bus drivers, support personnel, coaches, administrators, athletic trainers and overall student populations as he contemplates when it might be safe for college sports to return in the absence of a vaccine.
“It does have such farreaching impact,” said Taylor, 70.
The Division II CIAA, to which VUU and Virginia State belong, held a meeting Monday afternoon to discuss the national health crisis and evaluate options for athletics during the coming school year. Later in June, another league meeting will be held to try to attach some clarity to the fall sports situation.
The NCAA on May 20 announced that Division II schools could qualify for the football postseason by playing as few as seven games. VUU and
VSU each have 10 games currently scheduled.
In the CIAA, teams play seven league games, and Taylor called a seven-game VUU regular season that would begin in late September or early October “not ideal, but what we’re living in is not ideal. I think [seven games] would be a good conversation.”
Apart from the coronavirus threat, Taylor as a former coach is also very aware of the physical well-being required to safely participate in college football. Players have not been involved in supervised strength-andconditioning programs since mid-March. He appreciates that they’ve been working out on their own, but said, “It’s not the same, and we know that. So safety is an issue.”
Taylor’s VUU teams went 60-19-3 from 1984 to 1991, with three trips to the Division II playoffs. He moved to Hampton, which Taylor led to a record of 136-49-1 from 1992 to 2007. Taylor’s Pirates had one losing season, advanced to the Division II playoffs twice and the Division I-AA (FCS) playoffs five times. He completed his coaching career in 2012 at Florida
A&M, where his FCS Rattlers went 35-19.
At Division III Randolph-Macon, athletics director Jeff Burns believes the school’s administration is about a month away from a definitive plan regarding football and other fall sports.
“What I find in athletics is, you give us the parameters and we’ll figure out a way to make it work for our players in a safe way, at the highest level we can,” said Burns, R-MC’s AD for a decade.
The Yellow Jackets have a 10-game football schedule, with eight of them ODAC contests. The NCAA on May 29 announced that Division III football programs because of the pandemic impact could qualify for the postseason tournament by playing as few as five games.
Additionally, the NCAA limited Division II men’s and women’s basketball teams to 22 regular-season games in the coming school year in response to effects of the coronavirus. VUU and VSU, men and women, played between 25 and 28 (15 each in CIAA competition) last season.