There have been no football colleges since January, but the decision to play football is becoming an off-season favorite.
Expectations were heightened this week as members of the SEC and ACC committees publicly said that the end of July may be the time to make important decisions about the football college season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Even NC Chancellor Randy Woodson told ESPN that he expects 15 ACC presidents and chancellors to revise the desired league planning model and “finalize the plan” on Wednesday.
It was Monday, an eternity ago by today’s standards of the news series.
Since July ends this week, the biggest news may not be news at all. The 15 ACC presidents and chancellors will meet on Wednesday, but they will not be able to vote on the best planning scheme until the August 5 meeting. Any decisions this week could simply be advanced to the pre-season camp, which begins on August 7, to further assess the impact of the pandemic after students return to campus and begin actual football practice.
“I think the right timeline could be the starting point in late July. That’s what we believe in the SEC, and then let’s see what happens when we start training camps and fall practices,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross. said Bjork. “Stepping back is much easier than stepping up. I think you could actually look at mid-August as a realistic timeline to say, ‘Okay, are we ready to start on time?’ “
The NCAA Board of Governors meeting on August 4 is also a factor in the decision-making process, as the highest governing body in the NCAA is considering canceling 22 championships this fall.
Or the council may decide to push the decision back in August – again.
The only certainty about college football right now is uncertainty, a daily hurdle that even the most powerful people in college athletics continue to struggle with, including Power 5 commissioners and NCAA President Mark Emmert. The decision-making process involves a wide range of people, from doctors and physicians on conference advisory commissions to state and local governments and university presidents, all of whom lag behind the coronavirus in the Beijing government.
“The president of the university or the chancellor in the first place in this pandemic must take into account the general safety and security of the entire university community. “I take my hat off to those establishments that recognize that we are only in a moment that is similar to what our nation and athletics have never felt. As such, we must make decisions at that moment so different, very different, than any decision we should make by January 1, 2020. “
University presidents who quietly side with academics have been thwarted by the college’s leadership in athletics – not only because of their influence on NCAA board members, but more because of control over the university’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are not using finance as a driver for our decision,” said South Korean Chancellor Woodson. “We understand that if we are not able to play football, it can significantly affect the conference budget and the university’s sports budget, but at the same time it decreases compared to the health and safety of students and all those around students.
“The only thing I can guarantee you is that if we can’t open a university, we won’t have athletics,” he said, noting that the previous plan is a hybrid of online learning and personal learning. “If we can’t open a university for students, it would be painfully obvious to people that it’s about money if you play football in such conditions.”
The NCAA Board of Governors quickly and quietly became the bulk of the equation for determining the fate of fall sports this year. The role of the NCAA throughout the pandemic was largely to act as an advisor, issuing medical guidelines and protocols, while adjusting rules and refusing to give conferences more flexibility than usual. It has gained more importance recently, though, when the NCAA board of governors began to seriously consider canceling championships in the fall.
The group, which consists mainly of university presidents representing all three divisions, has the authority to cancel or postpone 22 NCAA Fall Championships in sports such as football, women’s volleyball and FCS football. However, the games and schedules of the regular season are determined at the discretion of individual schools or their conferences.
The NCAA does not oversee the college’s football playoffs, but there is concern among decision-makers in the sport that the cancellation of other championships in the fall could inevitably shut everything down – again.
“Yes, you can continue to play football games and all that,” said Shane Lyons, chairman of the football oversight committee, “but if you don’t play other sports, optically, what does it look like?” We try to keep playing football and doing our fall sports, but everyone aspires to be in the NCAA Championship. If you don’t have it, it’s a great thing to play for. So what’s going on? Do you still play in the regular season? “
Although the council declined last Friday, Emmert said it was possible that the fate of the fall championship would be decided at the next meeting on Aug. 4 – which could halt any other important steps until everyone sees what the NCAA will decide first. . While Power 5 is waiting for the NCAA, Group 5 is waiting for Power 5.
“Whatever they do, it will definitely have an impact on what we all do, what FBS does,” said Mike Aresco, the commissioner of the American Athletics Conference, whose preference is given, if possible, to a full schedule. “We hope we start the season on time, or we have a delay that there will be no decision to close things over the next two weeks because we think it will be premature.
“Our schedule would be about the same as theirs, anyway,” he said, “but we understand that we probably don’t travel by train, in fact, although we try to get as much investment as possible.” I will talk to the members of the commission, but we understand that a lot will depend on what they do. We are realistic. “
Morgan State Athletic Director Ed Scott, who stopped sports on his campus after 12 positive tests, said the mental health aspect of what athletes feel is not given enough attention because the decision-making process dominates the debate. He said the testing process begins with anxiety for those waiting for the result.
“The student-athletes who were positive, or those who were next to them and perhaps put themselves at great risk, had a fear and panic that was open to what was next and what it meant to me because now Am I feeling well? ”said Scott, whose program was part of the IEC’s decision to move autumn sports. “And not knowing the long-term effects was something that really worried our student-athletes because we don’t have enough data on the virus until we know what the potential long-term effects might be.
“So many of our young people first identify with their athletic affiliation, whether it’s right or wrong, and that’s why there is no opportunity for them to compete for what they’ve been training for all their lives, for me it’s what I’m really worried about.” he said – the mental health of our young men and women as we move forward – regardless of positive or negative results.Lack of competition and self-efficacy if you are with this is another end of the spectrum I just haven’t heard enough about the national landscape “.
Emmert said he still hopes the championships will be played in November, but if they are canceled, he said that does not mean that the regular seasons still cannot take place.
“They could play in the conference championship if they could make it safe,” he said. “The definition of our championships would be whether we can unite large groups of students in such conditions and do it safely. This is an important point.
“An individual competition is a football game, a basketball game is completely different,” he said. “When it comes to bowling or CFP, you’re talking about a championship game. Can you create a bubble with enough time for two teams to play each other safely? The answer may be yes. FCS – A round-the-clock championship in which There are 20 teams and a full-fledged championship. It’s a completely different and much more difficult environment than adding one or two more games to a season with a lot of space in between. “
In the typical college football season, 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are in the final stages as members of the college’s college football management committee. These are the ones who wrote the protocol to determine the four best teams in the country, set the field at four and would be the ones who would be able to expand it – if and when it happens.
Coronavirus has changed the way the group works – not by reducing respect or the connection between them – but by encouraging an unusual level of independent decision-making. The Big Ten were the first to announce the conference schedule this fall, and the league is due to announce what it looks like soon. A day later, Pac-12 took the same step, but also became the first Power 5 conference to delay the start of its season.
“That’s where the lack of a national voice hurts college athletics right now,” said Texas A&M Bjork, director of athletics. “We need someone or a group to step up our work, and I think that’s where the commissioners have done the best job in all of this – to provide the best possible voice. I now have a gap between what the NCAA puts forward and then the you have members of the commission, and then you have the power of 5 and the FBS and the influence on the FCC … the lack of that kind of cohesion is disappointing. “
Emmert said he understood the frustration – of athletic officials and fans – but the problem was the scale of the 19,000 teams spread across the country.
“Everyone says, ‘Well, can’t someone just accept the rule, or can someone just announce that we’re going to do it or do it?’ I would like that to be the case, but circumstances just don’t work that way, “he said. “… When you say well that we want to speak with one voice, I am sure that the problem is that the conditions and aspirations are strangely different in different conferences. The call is natural, the reality is completely different.”
Given the differences in preferences and processes, it is possible that each fall this fall looks different – a scenario that could work in the era of FWP.
“They can’t be incompatible,” said Big Bowlsby Commissioner Bob Bowlesby, “but they don’t have to be the same.”
Bjork also acknowledged a very real possibility when the SEC and other Power 5 conferences follow the results of Pac-12 and delay the start of the season – in the conversation he said: “We must seriously consider when we are sitting here today.”
This is a scenario that “Big 12” does not plan “at the moment”.
“Obviously, if one of us decides to go to a conference only, it will affect others,” Bowlesby told ESPN. “I guess we would have been notified in advance, but no one has made that decision yet – at least not among those [SEC, ACC or Big 12]. “
For now, they can just push.