The BIG 10 led the charge this week when commissioner Kevin Warren announced that college football would be suspended, with an aim to play in the spring. The PAC 12 followed. This is a problem.
Looking at the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft this year, Joe Burrow, you have a prime example as to why this might be a devastating blow to many student athletes. Burrow had a hard time with his college career up until the 2019-2020 season. He suffered injuries and subsequently got beat out at Ohio State, transferring to LSU. His first season at LSU was average at best, and then he blew up completely in 2019-2020. LSU won the natty, and the rest is history.
A real impact on players
Without that season, Joe Burrow wouldn’t be in the NFL, let alone in the first round, let alone number 1 overall. He wasn’t in the conversation before the season started. So what if he hadn’t got a chance to play last year? Well, Burrow addressed this himself on twitter:
And he’s absolutely right. My thoughts on Burrow are well documented, and the impact passing coordinator Joe Brady had on the LSU season was most definitely a factor. Burrow only has that one season to go on, and he’s definitely a gamble in my eyes because of that, and without it, he very likely wouldn’t be in the league.
And what about the safety element? Without football, many of these athletes will have to go home to their roots. Players have been tweeting and posting on instagram about this and their fears are obvious. It’s quite often not safe in their local communities. Trouble looms, gang violence and crime is through the roof, it’s better for them to be in school. This is the most influential reason that many of them work so hard to get a scholarship, because they feel it’s their only way out for them and their families. Now what??
Fighting an uphill battle
The fact that the BIG 10 and PAC 12 have suspended football causes a severe disadvantage for its players, considering the SEC, ACC and the Big 12 have all announced that they have no plans to surrender the season. So now you have a situation where 60% of the power 5 teams will play, all being well, while 40% sit at home.
Consider the fact that an athlete at Ohio State who’s had an unfortunate run of injuries and doesn’t have enough tape to get drafted at this point, and needed the 2020 season, like Joe Burrow. Does that athlete that’s spent his entire life working towards a dream just give up while other schools like Alabama and LSU continue to play? Not for a second. I would be looking to transfer to an ‘active’ school immediately, and i’d imagine this would be the case for many who are looking to play.
Some have done enough and can opt out and focus on the draft, those guys like Gregory Rousseau of Miami, and Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman can afford to make that choice, and so they did off their own accord. There will still be a place for them in the NFL come April 2021.
But many won’t be so lucky. Some guys need every snap they can get on the field to put the tape together that gives them a shot at the draft, and now you have 40% of the power 5 schools sitting at home?! In my eyes, the portal will be flooded. And what do the NCAA do about these requests?
We all know the NCAA has serious inconsistencies when it comes to the transfer portal. Some get granted immediate eligibility, and some don’t. It never makes any sense and they take constant heat for it. Now, it’s a lose lose situation. Let’s say a whole bunch of BIG 10 and PAC 12 players enter the portal, and the NCAA declines any of their transfer requests. So what, we’re just keeping the kids hostage because their divisions couldn’t be bothered to figure out a plan to combat COVID?
Okay then let’s allow all these guys to transfer, decommit and go somewhere else where the season is happening. So now you find yourselves in a situation where the SEC, Big 12 and ACC teams are over inflated with talent that all jumped ship from the two divisions not competing. Already from memory yesterday, an Ohio State commit in the top 50 de committed and will likely join Florida. Great for the Gators, a loss for Ohio State, so it’s literally already happening. Why would you go to Ohio State if you think you can compete as a freshman? Especially the 5* and highly regarded 4* recruits.
Can the BIG 10/PAC 12 recover from that? What if Ohio State loses it’s premium label because they took a year out and lost a years worth of recruits? What if some of the smaller schools in the BIG 10 who already have to work hard for commits don’t recover. Rutgers and Indiana. What if their commits all choose to go to Vanderbilt or Georgia Tech instead. Where they know they’ve got a shot at playing.
You can’t stop these kids from transferring surely?
If you do, you gotta give everybody another year of eligibility, to all the affected schools, which pushes everyone else at their program further down the pecking order. Which reduces the amount of talent in the draft, and causes problems for NFL teams, with 40% of the top talent having the option to stay at school. Then hitting the NFL and they’re a year older. Costing them a years worth of money which for some guys, with short lived NFL careers, is another huge impact.
Impact on the NFL. The Draft. Everything.
If they do play in spring, the draft will be delayed. And how will the playoffs work? We can’t sit around waiting for these two divisions to finish their seasons to see if ay of them earn a spot in the playoffs, the other schools that played in the fall won’t have played for 3-4 months, and then what just jump into the final four? What if Alabama is the number 1 team in the country, and played their last game in December… Do they just play a college football semi final against a fresh Ohio State team in April/May? That won’t work, or be fair.
Then players have no time to prepare for the draft, and work on their 40 yard dash times, cone drills, lifting and getting in the best shape of their lives. So much time, effort and dedication goes into their pre combine/draft routines. Are you going to just have them finish playing and get drafted the following week? If you push the draft back too far, the NFL teams will be impacted. Rookies will miss camp. What if the Jags or somebody draft Trevor Lawrence in July/August and the season starts 4 weeks later. Rookies will be thrust into even higher pressure situations than they are already.
It feels to me that it needs to be all or none. You can’t allow 60% to compete and make 40% sit at home. That’s just not fair. Across the board. But of course, each power 5 division has it’s own commissioner and makes it’s own choices. So here we are.
It feels very lazy, from both divisions. SEC commish Greg Sankey called it out perfectly:
The SEC has done a great job putting a plan in place to keep the students safe, and I know this because Florida’s latest episode of Inside the Swamp highlights how everything is working with COVID now playing a part in fall sports. It’s really interesting watch and i’d definitely recommend it. It looks like they’ve really thought about it, and I was impressed.
So hats off to the SEC. And literally everybody is disappointed in the lazy decisions made by the BIG 10 and PAC 12. The players aren’t happy, the schools aren’t happy, the fanbases aren’t happy, and in my opinion, it all could have been avoided.
A sad day for college football, and i truly feel for all of the athletes impacted by such laziness.