The NCAA voted to allow some sports to resume their voluntary offseason activities. What does this all mean, and will there be a college football season?
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the NCAA’s Division I Council voted to allow players to return to campus to resume activities for college football – men’s and women’s basketball can resume, too – starting back up on June 1st.
The activities outlined are the voluntary kind – workouts, player meetings, training – but more than that, it allows certain sports to get the pieces in place to make it all potentially go this fall.
Does this mean that college football is on for the 2020 season? Not yet, but it means it’s not off.
Had the NCAA come out and emphatically stated that there was no way do to this, and if it advised against any athletic activities for the rest of 2020, that would’ve likely been it. Various schools and conferences might have looked into trying to go forward no matter what, but it wouldn’t have worked.
Instead, the NCAA – to go cliché here – punted to the states, schools and conferences so they could try to figure out what to do next.
By making this vote, the NCAA is keeping open all the options and all of the possibilities. Some states, schools and/or conferences might still choose to shut it all down if they don’t find any safe way to play sports this season – especially if the campuses aren’t open to the rest of the student population – but for now, the NCAA is pushing forward.
At least there’s hope for some sort of a 2020 college football season.
Now it’s up to the various conference commissioners to come up with a set plan for how to safely and effectively do all of this, and it’s up to them to create various contingency plans in case any player or coach tests positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Coming up with a standard protocol to test the players and coaches on a regular basis the first step – that’s a daily discussion among all the powers-that-be. Everyone on the field has to know that they can do what they do without having to worry about getting sick.
Remember, these are mostly 18-to-22-year-old college kids out there, and they have parents who aren’t going to be too hot on the idea of their sons taking any risks with the virus.
The other sticking point will be how schools and conferences will handle a positive case.
Will it require a full team shutdown? Will it affect the other school’s team? Will it be just the affected player that’s quarantined? A standard set of rules and guidelines will have to be in place, and the various conference commissioners and athletic directors are on regular calls to discuss all of the options.
And then there’s the biggest sticking point – fans. Playing college football is all well and good, but the schools have to monetize it to fund all the other aspects of the respective athletic departments. The colleges need the ticket revenue far more than the pros do, but that’s a part of the puzzle for later.
At the very least, for now, a step was taken to potentially get college football for this season.