With the CoronaVirus postponing the NBA and NHL playoffs along with the MLB season, sports fans were left with one question at the end of the summer: will there be a college football season? COVID-19 is supposed to thrive in the cold weather that sweeps across the country in the fall and wintertime. The fall marks one thing for many Americans, College Football season. With some conferences already canceling their seasons, and all others switching to an alternate schedule that involves an all conference season, the 2020-2021 college football season is surrounded in mystery.
The NCAA has already canceled Division 2 and Division 3 fall championships, which includes football. That gives the lower divisions no incentive to play their fall sports, so all of the football teams closed the doors on their seasons before it even started. This was a smart decision by the NCAA to keep the players’ safety in mind. The NCAA did receive some flack from the fans and the players for not outright canceling the FBS season. Players questioned why the FBS didn’t get canceled, and most people accused the NCAA of sacrificing the safety of the best players in the nation for money.
Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas, Austin Peay, Campbell, Houston Baptist, Campbell, and The Citadel are the only FCS teams still playing football. The Big 10 and Pac 12 have both canceled their seasons along with some of the group of 5 teams this year. A lot of fans are upset at the cancellation of the major conferences because it will affect how the playoffs and the championship for the FBS will be played. The push to postpone or cancel the FBS season is continuing despite many conferences sticking to whatever decision they made.
Some teams are pushing to still play even though their conferences canceled their season. Big 10 teams believe that the Big 10 Commissioner may have acted too quickly, and they are reconsidering their season. Teams such as Nebraska and Iowa are pushing to reinstate an in-conference schedule in the Big 10. Fans are in support of the reinstatement as well because they will get to see teams like Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. Outside of the Big 10, most conferences have not attempted to change the season, but some players have.
Players have been making decisions to transfer schools or even sit the season out. Some players have decided to transfer from Big 10 and Pac 12 schools to teams that are playing this season. That isn’t the most popular decision since the NCAA is granting all fall athletes an extra year of eligibility regardless of if they can play or not. That decision has angered future players who believe that if that happens, recruiting classes will be smaller because players can stay on their team for another year. Some players are taking the opposite route and choosing to sit out this year. Players are sitting out this year for safety reasons, while other players, such as UGA QB Jamie Newman, are choosing to sit out to prepare for the draft.
One question that isn’t getting asked enough is how will this affect spring sports. Some teams have elected to postpone their season, which could mean that if COVID-19 is defeated by the spring, football season will resume. This would make scheduling for sports like lacrosse and soccer challenging as not all schools have separate facilities for the sports. It would also pose a challenge for dual-sport athletes who play fall and spring sports having to choose between their two sports.
COVID-19 has become a nightmare for sports fans. Now, it threatens to destroy the most popular season in the country. While the decision to cancel the season is a safe one, it is not the most popular decision and could come back to haunt players, coaches, fans, and spring sport athletes.