Timeline: Despite COVID-19 pandemic, Notre Dame fights its way to game day
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Saturday, Notre Dame will take the field for the season opener against Duke.
Getting here, however, was never an easy road.
In March when the pandemic began, the football season was in doubt and would be for most of the summer.
From quarantine to kickoff and everything in between, this is how we got here:
8/24 - Notre Dame ranks in the Top 10 of the preseason AP Poll for the second season in a row. The poll includes Big Ten and Pac 12 teams. ND ranks 7th among teams scheduled to play this season.
8/19 - NDFB cancelled practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after players had questions about the decision to move to virtual classes for at least two weeks. ND Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick told Yahoo Sport's Pete Thamel that there are "logistical questions" to be worked out.
8/18 - Notre Dame cancels in-person classes, moving to online learning for two weeks after a spike in coronavirus cases on campus. Students will remain in their residence halls. Notre Dame President, Father John Jenkins says if increased measures are not successful, the University will be forced to send students home, as it did in the spring. Notre Dame football can continue to practice during the next two weeks with remote learning.
8/16 - NDFB hold first fall practice in pads.
8/16 - NCAA's top doctor tells CNN: "If testing stays the way it is, there's no way we can move forward with sports." Several Big Ten players, including Ohio State QB Justin Fields, launch a "We want to play" petition - asking the Big Ten to reverse its decision to postpone the fall football season.
8/13 - The NCAA extends the "Recruiting Dead Period" through September 30th. This means no in-person on or off campus contact between prospects and coaches/staff.
8/14 - ND Defensive Lineman Nana Osafo-Mensa had knee surgey. He was injured on August 4th during "football-related activities." The sophomore is likely out for the 2020 regular season, but could possibly return for post-season play.
8/12 - Two more players test positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine. Seven others are in quarantine due to contract tracing. Since testing began over the summer, ND has conducted 619 COVID tests on players, coaches and staff. In total, 4 athletes have tested positive.
8/12 - Brian Kelly and Daelin Hayes appear on the today show, saying they believe ND can play safely this fall. ND fall camp starts on campus. 8/11 - Big 10 and Pac 12 vote to postpone the fall football season. The PAC 12 just canceled all sports, including basketball, until at least January 1st.
8/9 - #WeWantToPlay trends on Twitter. Several ND football players post messages, including Ian Book, Daelin Hayes and Houston Griffith.
8/8 - The Mid-American Conference cancels its season. That means, ND won't play Western Michigan on September 19th.
8/6 - ACC releases ND's 2020 schedule. Western Michigan will be the non-conference opponent. For the first time since 1927, the Irish will not play Navy.
8/6 - ND ranks #10 in pre-season Coaches poll
7/29 - ND joins a conference, the ACC, for the first time ever due to Coronavirus pandemic. ND will play 10 ACC teams and one non-conference opponent. They are also eligible for the ACC championship
7/9 - The Big 10 announces it will have a conference-only season. ND was scheduled to play Wisconsin at Lambeau Field on October 3rd. That game has been cancelled.
6/26 - The NCAA extends the "Recruiting Dead Period" through August 31st. This means no in-person on or off campus contact between prospects and coaches/staff.
6/19 - NDFB players hold a staNDtogether Rally in honor of Juneteenth.
6/2 - ND announces it will play Navy at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, instead of opening the season in Ireland due to COVID-19. In the rivalry's 94-year history, the two teams have never played in Annapolis.
5/27 - The NCAA extends the "Recruiting Dead Period" through July 31st. This means no in-person on or off campus contact between prospects and coaches/staff.
4/20 - ND cancels all scheduled summer football camps on campus.
3/12- NCAA basketball tournament cancelled, among several other sports.
3/12 - ND cancels 2020 Blue-Gold game and suspends all football activities, including recruiting. Coach Kelly sends out statement, saying he's asked football players not to return to campus until further notice.
3/11 - ND cancels all face-to-face classes amid the growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
3/05 - ND holds its first spring practice.