College Sports

20 Pros & Cons Of The NCAA’s 2020 Football Disaster

Darren - August 14, 2020
College Sports

20 Pros & Cons Of The NCAA’s 2020 Football Disaster

Darren - August 14, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

18. Pro: Health & Safety

Now that two of the biggest NCAA conferences have postponed their starts, public and individual health should benefit. Let’s be real, every time an athlete steps onto a field right now, they’re at risk. Even very fit people can suffer from this health crisis – we’ve seen that with soccer players in Europe.

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However, it’s not just the players we should worry about. Many coaches could have been at risk because a lot of them are past middle-age and in the high-risk group. Meanwhile, even if players don’t display symptoms, they could still spread the disease to their families and the general population.

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17. Con: Trickle-Down Effect

We’ve talked about the financial impact this will have on individual schools. But it goes deeper than just their football programs. The truth is that many of their other sports programs depend heavily on the participation of their football teams in their respective leagues.

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Their schools receive tens of millions of dollars as a result of this. Then the schools use this to fund their other sports. However, if football money isn’t coming in, other sports will suffer too. Nobody wins in this situation. In short, it’s not just football players who suffer here, all student-athletes could.

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16. Pro: Moral Obligation

Money dominates the minds of football at every level from NCAA to NFL. Like it or not, that’s the truth. With this in mind, it’s good to see the Big 10 and Pac-12 put the welfare of the players and surrounding communities first.

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Even if you vehemently disagree, it’s reassuring they are listening to experienced medical advice. In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, this is exactly what people need to do. Big 10 Commissioner Kevin Warren said that the current health crisis provided too much risk and made an unpopular decision.

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15. Con: Partisan Politics

One of the worst aspects of this situation is the way that politicians have politicized the decisions of different leagues. Republican US Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville believes that the Big 10’s decision was cowardly. In short, he thinks they’re just worried about potential lawsuits.

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Furthermore, US President Donald Trump says that the NCAA should start as normal. Needless to say, Democrats strongly disagree with this. Nobody likes when politicians turn disaster into an opportunity. But that’s exactly what’s happening in this situation.

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14. Pro: Case Study

Some will question why the likes of the Sun, Atlantic, and Pro-12 are still going forward, but the NFL will watch their respective situations closely. We still don’t know exactly how the pro game plans to restart. Will they follow the NBA format and use a bubble? Or will they go down MLB’s less successful route?

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If these college football divisions can pull off their restarts effectively, then it may convince the NFL to conduct business as usual. However, if disaster strikes and many players get sick, the opposite will happen. Students shouldn’t be lab rats, but the NFL will benefit from it in this unique scenario.

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13. Con: Divided Divisions

This is one of the clearest problems with what’s going on right now. The Big 10 and Pac 12 have put massive pressure on the other conferences to follow in their footsteps. However, as we have seen, several divisions still plan to plow stubbornly forward despite the risk of disaster. Many think those two conferences rushed their decisions.

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If everybody isn’t following the same playbook, then it looks messy for the NCAA. Right now the canceled divisions have the moral high ground, but if they will face massive criticism if other conferences restart without problems. It’s a very messy situation.

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12. Exposure

It might be bittersweet but various divisions and individuals are exposing themselves for who they really are. Youngsters and parents looking at potential colleges will be able to identify the ones that suit their needs best. Do they want to be part of a league that will fight through disaster or one that puts safety first?

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In the world we live in today, people have many different values. Of course, we’re trying to put a bright side on what is a ridiculous situation. The NCAA has failed to provide appropriate leadership but there may be a bright side to these divisions making decisions unchecked because nobody can hide now.

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11. Con: TV Revenue

It’s not just the colleges who will face financial problems now. According to Forbes, ESPN, CBS, and Fox will pay a combined $1.5 billion to NCAA divisions. How is that situation going to resolve itself now? At the end of the day, football conferences provide a product to the networks.

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If they don’t get their product, they’ll be justified in paying less money now or in the future. However, this isn’t what the networks want. Legal battles will ensue. Furthermore, it’s even messier because there isn’t a united front throughout the NCAA.

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10. Pro: Player Fitness

One of the key issues with restarts is the enhanced chances of players suffering injuries. This is a unique time where teams are unable to train efficiently together. While many players are on individual programs, full team practices are off the cards for the time being.

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The NBA and European soccer leagues proved that players have an increased risk of suffering minor muscle tears and soft-issue injuries. This is because of the high-intensity conditions that they are playing in. In short, you obviously can’t build this up when you’re training by yourself.

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9. Con: Bubble Option

Some critics will point at the success of the NBA, NHL, and MLS by restarting their seasons in a bubble. They argue that the NCAA could have followed the same model. Very few if any players from the above professional leagues tested positive after entering their respective bubbles.

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In sum, it works. Of course, there are logistical challenges like organizing online classes and changing dormitory rules for college students. However, you could also argue that this situation uniquely suits these young men because they already live away from home.

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8. Pro: No Bubble

This is all a matter of perspective. Others will argue that a bubble is a bad idea because you’re isolating young athletes away from home. First of all, they will point to the fact that their education will undoubtedly suffer. The majority of college football players don’t make it to the NFL.

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In fact, according to the NCAA, only two percent of college footballers make it through the draft. If you play for a Division 1 college, that jumps up to 3.8%, but clearly the chances aren’t great. In reality, most of these players use football as an avenue to a scholarship so that they can get their degree, not a career in football.

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7. Con: Community Pain

In many communities, their college football team means just as much as an NFL franchise. First of all, it’s the soul of the community and greedy owners can’t just take it away because the local authority won’t build a new stadium. Fans love football and it’s a blow for them to lose it in many cities until the spring.

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Meanwhile, it always comes back to money but it will have a big effect on the surrounding areas. College football directly affects the development of infrastructure. It will also impact hospitality services like hotels and restaurants around those towns because game days are massive events.

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6. Pro: Fan Return

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.

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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.

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5. Con: Diluted Product

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.

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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.

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4. Pro: NFL TV Advantage

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.

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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.

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3. Con: Player Outrage

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.

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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.

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2. Pro: Player Power

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.

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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.

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1. Leadership Failure

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.

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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.

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