One of the biggest stories in US sport at the moment is that American College Football will not return this autumn. Trump’s comments, the health and safety of students, the economic impact and the 2021 NFL Draft are some of the question marks surrounding College Football this year. But is it the right decision to postpone the fall season?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was in favor of College sports returning this fall. This is understandable, given the large amount of money that the Association earns thanks to TV rights. Nonetheless, the NCAA asked each conference to decide whether they will give the green light for College sports this autumn.
One reason is because testing each player for Covid-19, before and after games, would be impossible. The question of away fixtures is another difficult matter. Teams would have to quarantine before away games to make sure they don’t spread the virus across the country. This would not only be complicated for colleges, but also for students, staffs and coaches.
Fortunately for players’ dreams of being drafted to the NFL, they will benefit from another year as student-athletes, if their Colleges play half or no season due to Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, players shouldn’t be overly affected by this one-year addition to their scholarship. Students safety will be prioritiesed and universities won’t lose money over the cost of testing and the medical staff required.
Nonetheless, other conferences have decided to maintain their programmes with few changes. Teams will mainly compete against teams in the same conference and will only play one game against another conferences’ team. They will play just 11 games throughout the year. The aim of this is to contain the spread of the virus, by limiting travel around the country.
This is a good idea, but requires everyone to respect social distancing protocols. In teams of around 100 players, social distancing will be difficult. This plan is promising, but given the current Covid-19 situation in the US, it probably won’t be safe enough for players and everyone else involved in the game.
If the NCAA decide to continue with this plan, players in those conferences will definitely gain an advantage for next year’s draft. They will have the chance to demonstrate their skills and talent, instead of staying at home.
Nevertheless, the question remains: is it worth it?
Knowing all of this, the best decision would probably be to cancel the fall season and start again in the spring, with the hope of having a world, free of the virus, by next year. The economic losses will be huge. Colleges, Conferences and the NCAA will lose out, but in my opinion, the health and safety of students is more important. There are too many questions surrounding this year’s NFL season to risk young athletes’ lives for money.
College Football is known for its great atmosphere, with the students’ sections and fans. Therefore, having games without fans wouldn’t be as good as it was before.
So just cancel this season, let the players rest, keep them safe and everything will come back next year, even better than it was before.
Featured Image: via @DartFootball on Twitter
Last modified: 19th August 2020