We’ve officially entered the danger zone.
Sources: Attempts to salvage the fall 2020 college football season are all but over. “It’s gotten to a critical stage," one told SI. "I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.”— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) August 9, 2020
College football sources tell @SInow that the Big Ten is moving toward a decision to cancel the 2020 fall season, while engaging other Power 5 conferences on a uniform decision to be announced later this week. https://t.co/vT1JIQYHrC— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 9, 2020
I don’t know if I ever really saw this coming. I figured they would essentially do what Major League Baseball has done, and try to keep it going. One team would get hit with an outbreak of the virus, and they’d just keep pressing on without that team. Looking at the St. Louis Cardinals specifically.
So I always thought we would kick off.
Now it’s looking like we won’t even get to a start of fall camp.
It’s moving fast, because it was just Friday when the SEC released their revised schedule (complete with schedule release show on the SEC Network, because dollars, right?). And not even two days later we have college presidents and athletic directors setting up meetings where the expected outcome is we’re not going to have football this fall.
Part One: The Virus
Coronavirus has been a really huge impactful thing in this country since February, and it really took off in mid-March, when Rudy Gobert’s positive test shocked the country into the reality of the coronavirus. The NBA shut down, and they were promptly followed by every major sports league, and college sports.
Today the country surpassed 5 million cases of the virus, and we’re quickly nearing 160,000 deaths.
Caseloads are trending down slightly, deaths and hospital rates are down slightly... things are trending in a good direction, but we had a real chance to do it all right back in April. Instead things were pushed forward recklessly, and we spiked again in June.
And here’s the kicker... this is still the first wave.
Students are getting back on campuses, and it’s going to go against all recommended health guidelines to open schools up to the public.
But there are success stories within the coverage of the virus. The NBA is a success story. The NHL is one so far as well. They’ve put themselves into a bubble and been vigilant about keeping the virus out. Which gets to my second part...
Part two: College Players are Organizing
If the NCAA were to quickly (which would never happen) adopt a payment structure for their football players and immediately “bubble” them in their facilities... we could have CFB. But they aren’t doing that https://t.co/gJAp3Erp38— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 9, 2020
College presidents and athletic directors were pressing forward on playing because of one very cold reality... College Football makes schools a lot of money. Without football, a LOT of athletic departments can’t make their budget and can’t pay their employees, and that will have a trickle down effect on local economies and non-revenue sports as well.
Turn off the money spigot of College Football and it changes everything. Money has always been a big issue, but as TV contracts exploded in the 2000s it got even more present.
As as the money exploded, though, so did the athletes’ awareness. With more and more athletes organizing and making demands and requests of the school, it has the potential to change the landscape of college sports for the next decade and beyond.
So colleges are fighting against the coronavirus and a future where a significant portion of the revenue won’t be theirs to control. A bubble would work, but that would mean the NCAA will have to admit these players aren’t regular students. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Imagine if the P5 has actually worked together this whole time. All five delayed until Sept 26 instead of this hodgepodge. Used the same panel of medical advisors, followed the same protocols.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 9, 2020
Instead, the fate of the season is being decided by a five-way game of staredown.
Trevor is dead on here. Cancel football, and a lot of players wind up returning to situations that aren’t as safe as they are currently.— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) August 9, 2020
If the schools would just drop the charade and cut some checks, they could bubble them and play. But they won’t do that. https://t.co/nxTq4x3Vgo
It feels like we’re reaching a bit of a breaking point. The NCAA has no leadership steering the schools in the right direction, there’s no single point of contact controlling the message. Instead, you have the power conferences, each with their own way of doing things, and because they’d already cancelled most of the non-conference schedule, they’ve left everyone else in the lurch.
There’s this weird faction of vocal weirdos on twitter and sports message boards who seem to confuse the people who are appropriately voicing their concerns about the impacts of the virus and its unknown long term effects on the body with “rooting for the virus”.
That’s dumb. I don’t know anyone who is rooting for the virus. As a part time college sports site manager, I want something to talk about that isn’t hypothetical. Trust me, I’ve spent the last three weeks researching Mizzou recruiting since Norm Stewart, I’m ready for football games.
Since the virus hit this country, pretty much every expert has told us we aren’t doing enough. And this is the result. The people who were listening to the experts have been saying all along, “We aren’t doing enough and it’s going to come back to haunt us,” and we’re at the point where the season is going to at least be postponed. That’s not rooting for the virus.
I want to live my life normally just like everyone else. But I’m not willing to put my life, future, or those close to me at risk for some sense of normalcy. I feel like I was doing pretty well with everything, and then I found out recently someone very close to a good friend of mine is having COVID-like symptoms. It just sent me right back. We have got to find a way to get control of this thing, and it’s been done in other places. Let’s do it here so we can get sports back (he says as it falls on deaf ears).
We just wanna ball man. ♂️— Nick Bolton (@_nickbolton2) August 9, 2020
And we wanna watch, Nick. We really do.