I’ve answered this question many times over the last several weeks. I’m no future teller or even a great prognosticator but yet people still ask me. I assume they just want to know what I am hearing from the people I talk to from the College Football Writers Association of America and UofL. Or they just ask everyone until they get the answer they want. Either way, I’m up for the conversation.
Well, I can tell you this… My answer has changed several times and will likely change again because the information we receive about the virus changes daily. These are unprecedented times and with no history to use as a comparison, we are just going day by day.
All we can do is hope and speculate.
I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the possibilities of playing the college and NFL football seasons. It seems that the leaders of both leagues have plans in place for almost every situation – From starting on time all the way to canceling the season.
The coaches and media have varying opinions as well. You have Dabo Swinney saying in his ACC teleconference “My preference is let’s get to work and go play. That’s the best-case scenario, and I think that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t have any doubt. I have zero doubt that we’re going to be playing and the stands are going to be packed.”And you have ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit predicting the cancellation of the season despite it being almost five months until the season is scheduled to start.
In an article by Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com he says,
“College football stakeholders have begun the process of modeling what a return to play would look like for the sport, CBS Sports has learned. There will be at least some adjustment made to the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the cancellation of spring practices and spring games nationwide.
Specifically, there have been models for college football teams reconvening on June 1, July 1 and Aug. 1. In addition, there has been discussion of a truncated season, including one with only conference games being played.”
Everything is on the table.
Meanwhile, conference commissioners and athletic directors are game-planning contingencies that could salvage some semblance of a season that would keep the TV money flowing to campus. From a financial standpoint, a college season without football would be a disaster with implications for all sports at every school.
Conferences’ multi-sport television agreements and schools’ local media-and-marketing deals get as much as 85% of their value from football, according to AJ Maestas, the CEO of Navigate, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in college and professional sports rights valuations. Those deals, as well as shoe-and-apparel deals, often contemplate the prospect of payment-adjustment negotiations if games are not played for reasons beyond the school’s control – per USA Today.
While there are so many variables to consider about delaying, altering or canceling the college football season, there is no bigger factor than everyones health and safety.
No matter if you believe this is all a big political scam to destroy the economy, of if you think this is a global attack from China – Or even if you actually think wearing gloves while doing your grocery shopping is protecting you, it doesn’t matter. I’m not telling anyone that they are right or wrong. Believe what you want and do what you think protects you. No matter what you believe or feel, football isn’t going to start until the powers-that-be feel it is safe to gather in large masses again.
I don’t believe that football games will be played without fans – and I’m pretty confident about that.
So will there be a 2020 college football season? I say there will be but it will either be shortened or have an adjusted schedule. Meaning, either cutting out non-conference games, changing the schedule to a 6 conference – 10 games schedule, or just pushing back the start of the season so that it ends in February. I think the NCAA will do whatever it takes to squeeze in a football season even if that means playing in the spring or eliminating unnecessary bowl games and moving up the CFB Playoffs to allow for a four-month rest period before the following season starts.
My reasoning – Unless all students and student athletes are allowed back on campus as regularly scheduled, there will be some sort of delay or altercation to the start of the season. It’s simply unsafe to put the players on the field without being properly conditioned. I mean, the whole reason for this current situation is about people’s health and safety so why would they substitute one risk with another? The season will start when everyone is as safe as possible. At least that’s what I believe.
As Always, GO CARDS!