[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/26/debate.mississippi/art.debatepreps.ap.jpg caption="Workers put the finishing touches on the debate stage at the University of Mississippi on Thursday."]
OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat said Friday morning that if GOP nominee McCain does not show for the first presidential debate at the school in Oxford, the format may include members of the audience to submit questions to the moderator, Jim Lehrer.
Lehrer would then pose the questions to Obama. It would take on a kind of town hall format, according to Khayat.
Watch: Will the debate go on?
Khayat said he will recommend that to the Debate Commission, which would make the final decision.
The debate was to focus on foreign policy and national security, but the economic crisis is likely to be a dominant issue as well.
Whether McCain intends to participate is up in the air, but Democratic opponent Barack Obama said it's still on as far as he's concerned.
Obama will fly to Oxford on Friday, according to his campaign.
On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he expects both candidates to attend Friday night's debate, even though McCain has said he'll only go if Congress reaches a deal on the bailout.