Postponing College Football To The Spring Shows League Just Wants COVID-19 Situation To Disappear
So the Big 10 will play college football in the spring.
In other words, the school presidents delayed a decision yet again because they could not make one. In sailing terms, this kind of lack of leadership has a term. It’s called “rudderless.”
And don’t believe that crap about “in the best interest of the players.” This is a cynical sportswriter typing here but the truth of the matter is that they only have the “best interests” of themselves in mind. They are worried about being responsible if anything goes sideways, such as a major outbreak or – heaven forbid– a player, coach or staffer perishes due to COVID-19.
They don’t want to get sued, they don’t want the social media and PR backlash and they don’t want to take responsibility for it. This is not about the players, it’s about themselves. By delaying by first talking revised schedules, then conference-only opponents and now pushing things back to the spring, they are hoping this thing just goes away. Wash the hands and then high-five each other.
That’s not making a decision. That’s chickening out and not showing any kind of leadership. Either cancel the season or don’t cancel the season. In other words, it’s a selfish move made by the conference leaders to protect themselves and not the players.
Want proof? What kind of “safety of the players” are you getting by playing a full season in the spring and then going back two months later into fall practice and a fall 2021 season? You just can’t say “okay, spring games start on March 1” or whatever; there needs to be three weeks at least of practice. Keep in mind the players have not hit since last December.
This is not basketball or baseball where you can play every day; this is full-contact football.
Don’t believe me? Reece Davis of ESPN said pretty much the same. “Don’t talk to me about player safety” if you’re doing this, he said on ESPN. “I don’t want to hear it.” He later called it “irresponsible.”
And while I will address this in another blog post, canceling (or “postponing”) will have huge ramifications in many ways beyond just playing the games. Bars, already on thin ice due to limited crowds and early closures, are going to suffer immensely without fans going in to watch their teams.
This goes far beyond the bars in the college towns because there are alumni bars all across the country. It’s a huge part of the bars’ business. Think unemployment is bad now? Tens of thousands of bartenders, waiters, waitresses and security staff are going to be out of work.
Also, what about the players going to the NFL Draft? There’s no way they will play in the spring.
Recruiting is also affected, to a measure that could cripple certain programs for years. Ohio State has the #1-ranked recruiting class for 2021; will many of those players de-commit to go to a school where they don’t have to play 22 or more games in a calendar year, which would be the case with a spring season?
Some – many, perhaps – players may transfer. Can you imagine Justin Fields going back to Georgia? It’s possible. And would the NCAA grant them a waiver to play immediately if they transfer now?
Notice I’ve yet to mention the Pac-12. That’s because its weak leadership is hardly worth a mention. It does what Big Brother the Big 10 does all the time anyway, so why does it even have a commissioner?
I’m hosting a live show about this on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. PT. Tune in to voice your thoughts here: www.facebook.com/pubclubber/. Also leave your comments on this post. I do want to hear from you!
Editor’s Note: Kevin Wilkerson has covered college football for the Dothan (AL) Eagle and Savannah News-Press, with assignments including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson and South Carolina.