It’s almost fall, but it does not feel like it. Friday night lights have been put on hold and now Saturdays on the gridiron are also taking a backseat. With several NCAA power conferences announcing that their fall sports calendar has been canceled recently, this has brought even more uncertainty to our hoped for return soon to “normalcy”.
There are two sides to every coin. On one side, you have the business and economics of things. The decision to not play will have its repercussions on the sports. The sponsors, the television deals, the tradition of rivalries, possible teams opting out of conferences and even players who will transfer (or at least attempt to) to another program if that other program decides to play.
On the other side, you have those who view this as a necessary way to help slow the spread of the pandemic. Student-athletes, coaches, supporters and even the NCAA are looking at this as a way to attempt to remain safe and are attempting to have the season in the spring of 2021 if necessary.
So which way is right? Is it right to look at it from a financial point or is it right to view from the medical side of it? Like any other debate you’re going to get a shouting match out of both sides and the answer will remain unclear. The only thing that we know now is that it is ultimately up to the NCAA and committee and that our Saturday viewing will be limited.
This decision cannot be easy for anyone, let alone for us fans to accept regardless of the outcome. For me; I am a football guy. I love the sport very much and enjoy watching it at all levels. I am a Tennessee Vols fan and as of right now it looks like the SEC is on pace for playing; at least as of writing this on Friday, August 14). I am okay with the reduction of the schedule and no fans in the stands. However, it is not my call. If a player is uncomfortable or concerned over his health (particularly linemen) I don’t blame them for not wanting to play and I will not judge them or hold it against them.
Another thought is, if there is not a fall season, how will this affect their draft stock in the NFL? It would take a major hit and make it very difficult for NFL scout teams to get a logical view of any prospects. That is a big thing for the sport and the future of the student-athletes. For college football players their ultimate goal is to reach the NFL and a non-fall season would be a huge roadblock in their journey.
Only time will tell how this will all pan out. All we know as of today is that we are still facing the havoc that the pandemic has caused. Not just to sports, vacation plans, school and other everyday luxuries that we have grown accustomed to, but for those who have lost loved ones as well during this time. I think that is the bigger picture at this point.
Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.