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Montana State Bobcats director of athletics Leon Costello discusses recent NCAA developments

Montana State athletic director Leon Costello ’emotional’ being back at South Dakota State
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 23:17:46-04

BOZEMAN — On Thursday afternoon, Montana State director of athletics Leon Costello discussed all the recent news coming out of the NCAA.

As of right now MSU is not looking at cutting any programs as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“I think that’s been the positive thing about where we are, from the president’s priorities on down," Costello said. "Protecting people and that means protecting our personnel and protecting our student-athletes and our scholarships.”

With the NCAA locking in dates for the FCS Playoffs in the spring, the ball can get rolling for the Bobcats.

“Now that we have some dates that we can put to this plan, we can now finalize our plans on what it means for practice and when we get student-athletes back and what the routine is working with our coaches and setting up their schedules,” said Costello.

One big thing about having football in the spring is that it allows the Bobcats to have an increased possibility of fans in the stands, where most of their revenue is made up.

“By giving us time going into February we’re hopeful that we keep changing in a positive direction," Costello said. "That we’re able to have more people in the stands, that will help us, one, be able to enjoy the game, but also generate some revenue and tickets sales that we’re going to be able to meet the financial requirements of being ready to play and (COVID) testing being a part of that.”

But having football end in May could create some problems with a fall football season just around the corner.

“My hope is that it doesn’t hurt too much and I haven’t heard anything as far as delaying the start of the fall," said Costello. "Everything I have heard is, they set this playoff system up so that if we started with a regular fall, like we do every year, that we can still do both. Like anything, it’s going to be different. Playing that many games in a full calendar year is going to be tough, but I think we’re going to do our best to try and find our way through it and do what we can and make sure that safety and well-being of our athletes are our top priority.”

Another hurdle is finding time to fit all the fall and spring sports together so that every team has practice time. Football will have to adjust from morning to afternoon to practice in a little warmer weather in the winter.

“As we all know, in Montana you wake up in morning there could be snow on the ground, by 3 o'clock in the afternoon it could be melted," Costello said. "It gives us time to have the temperature increase throughout the day, which will help us get the field ready and prepared.”

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the basketball season will be pushed back to toward the end of November. For some games, there could be an NBA-like bubble.

“We talked a lot about having opportunities in the non-conference to have bubble opportunities," Costello said. "Now that we’ve gone from Nov. 10 to the 25th we had games scheduled in there. And if we need to pick up games, are there opportunities for us to pick up a bulk of games at one time?"