Yesterday was a significant one for the college football landscape, which is one that is dominated by the Power 5 schools, or the schools who play their ball within the five most significance college football conference in the country. The bulk of the NFL talent ends up coming from these schools, and many other conferences follow in their footsteps.
Two of those five conferences made it official yesterday that they would not be conducting athletics during the Fall term, those being the Big Ten and the Pac-12, which encompass notable schools such as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, USC, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward”, the Big Ten commissioner said in a statement released yesterday.
“As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall”.
It’s important to note that in the cases of both conferences, they specifically said that the season was being postponed, which means that they will be potentially pursuing the opportunity to get the season in later on, such as in the Spring.
In contrast, each of the remaining Power 5 conferences issues statements making it clear that, as of now, they are still planning to move forward with their seasons, though that remains open to revision as time, and data, moves on.
“I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today”, the SEC commissioner said. “I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes. We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day”.
The ACC and the Big 12 also issued statements expressing their intention to move forward with the Fall 2020 season, though all of them have announced modified playing schedules that will take into consideration the state of the virus.
Games are still a month out, and the reality is that these decisions can still be reversed between now and then. “We think it is premature to make any major decisions at this time”, the head of the ACC said, in a statement reflecting that understanding.
The decisions from all parties have been met with resistance from those who oppose their position. Clearly there is no consensus on what people believe is the right course of action, as plenty believe they should play, and plenty that they shouldn’t. For now, it appears that some will, and some won’t.