Hopefully, the decision of some major conferences to postpone their restarts until the spring may mean fans will be able to return. When a sports match lacks fans, it loses part of its soul. This could also provide long-term relief to local businesses.
Fans also create an atmosphere. This automatically improves the quality of competition on the field because players feel under pressure. It gives a contest a sense of jeopardy otherwise they just feel like practice games. It will be interesting to see how fall leagues cope with all this.
The lack of team training will have a direct effect on the quality of football we will see on the field. Conferences like the Sun and Atlantic Leagues aren’t even pretending that this is important to them. While they want their games to go ahead, it may end up costing them. Teams will be rusty because of the lack of group practice.
However, this may prove to be a shortsighted view. Casual NFL fans will probably tune in because it’s football but if the product isn’t good then it may put them off watching college games again. This would be a disaster for the future of the NCAA. Ironically, waiting until the spring might be better in the long run.
It’s not exactly a silver lining for anybody affiliated with the college game. However, the NFL could benefit from the serious drop in college football over the next few months. TV networks will potentially be able to schedule more football games in atypical time slots.
First of all, it would allow each conference to play in a bubble in a condensed format. NFL teams don’t play on Fridays and Saturdays but this could be changed this season given the unique circumstances. That would give obvious financial advantages from TV revenue and ensure the likelihood that the pro season finishes safely.
College football relies on its players. It’s the one industry where coaches make more money than the athletes. The players take this hit because of scholarships and the financial implications of making it through the draft. In short, there’s no denying that players’ futures are at risk here.
They have no idea what’s going to happen with the draft next year which is a potential disaster. Furthermore, many of them rely on their schools to support them just so they can stay in education. The conferences are already pushing the NCAA to make guarantees to affected players.
A huge number of players will opt out of potential spring leagues because they want to train for the draft. On the surface, this might not appear like a pro but it will be the kick in the teeth the NCAA deserves. That’s another reason why some conferences are desperate to restart now.
While it will be disappointing that many star players won’t feature for their schools this season, it may convince the NCAA to show their athletes more respect. Young stars like Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence know they will be early first-round picks. They have nothing to lose by sitting out, but it will be a disaster for NCAA conferences.
Finally, let’s hate on the NCAA and the so-called leadership in this ridiculous scenario that’s devolved into disaster. They’ve had months to come together and create a coherent plan but they absolutely blew it. Instead, the NCAA showed its weaknesses, and individual conferences had to make their own decisions.
In the long-term, this is simply a disaster for the NCAA. Nobody will trust them to do the right thing now. In sum, they’ve lost the trust of players, coaches, and even commissioners. They’re more vulnerable than ever before because of their own ineptitude.