It’s still too early to tell when players will be welcomed to return to college campuses following the coronavirus pandemic but according to ESPN’s Laura Rutledge, that time may be sooner than some realize at this point.

During a recent appearance on ESPN morning show “Get Up,” Rutledge shared the latest on what she’s hearing in terms of a potential return to campus for student-athletes. According to Rutledge, many colleges are hoping to get athletes back on campus in mid-July — of course, it goes without saying that the timeline can obviously change based on what occurs between now and then.

“The most important piece is there is optimism around it, it’s definitely complicated, but there’s optimism because they have time and really the timeline that we’re looking at here is toward the end of May, early June,” Rutledge said on the show. “All of these conferences that have shut down operations right now are going to reconvene and they’re going to assess the situation around the country – just like all of us are doing. They’re going to see how things look at that point.

“We’re really talking about early June, that buys them a lot of time up until that point. Now then, once they have a timeline, a plan, they’re targeting mid-July for a hopeful return for their players and some semblance of athletic activity, getting ready for the season.”

Rutledge also shared that most believe the season will be played on time if that mid-July window holds up for players’ return to campuses across the country.

“Look, who knows if this is possible but if they are able to get players back on campus, by mid-July,” she added. “A lot of these conference commissioners, a lot of coaches, they feel like that would allow for a start of the season, at least, relatively on time, maybe even on time. That’s what the timeline really looks like for a lot of these schools around the country.”

That certainly is an optimistic timeline but if it works out that way, you won’t hear any football fans complaining.