There has been no college football since January, but the decision to punt is becoming a firm favorite.
Anticipation was heightened this week, as commissioners from the SEC and the ACC publicly stated that the end of July is perhaps some important decision-making about the college football season amid a still-growing coronovirus epidemic. Even NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson told ESPN that he expected the 15 presidents and chancellors of the ACC to review the league’s preferred scheduling model on Wednesday and finalize a plan.
That was Monday – an eternity ago by current news cycle standards.
As July draws to a close this week, the biggest news may not be any news. The 15 ACC president and chancellor will meet on Wednesday, but cannot vote on the preferred scheduling model until their August 5 meeting. Any decision this week can only be made to advance to the Presiden Camp, which begins August 7 to evaluate the impact of the epidemic after students return to campus and actual football practice begins.
“I think a proper timeline at the end of July might be a check-in point, which is what we believe the SEC is, and then see what happens as soon as we start training camp and practice,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said. “It’s too easy to pull it back. I think actually you can have a realistic timeline in mid-August to say ‘Okay, are we ready to start on time?”
The August 4 meeting of the NCAA Board of Governors is also a factor in the decision-making process, as the highest-ranked governance body in the NCAA is considering canceling its 22 Fall Championships.
Or, the board may decide to pursue the decision further in August.
There is still some uncertainty about college football – a daily hurdle with which even the most powerful people in college athletics continue to lose their hands, including Power 5 Commissioner and NCAA President Mark Emmert. The firm decision process includes layers of people – from doctors and physicians on conference medical advisory boards, to state and local government officials, and university presidents – all of whom fall behind the coronovirus in Peking order of power.
David Wilson of Morgan State said, “In this epidemic the university president and first of all the epidemic has to take into account the overall health and safety of the entire university community, and college athletics cannot be a dog.” Member of the NCAA Guides Board. “I give my hat to those institutions who recognize that we are in a moment like the likes of our nation and college athlete have never experienced. In this way, we must make decisions in this moment, so that someone Also very different, different than we were. Decisions we would have made before January 1 of 2020. “
University presidents, who usually work quietly on behalf of academics, have been placed in key positions of power over college athletics – not only because of their influence as members of the NCAA board, but control of campus covids More 19 restrictions due to.
“We are not using finance as a driver to make decisions,” said NC State Chancellor Woodson. “We understand that if we are not able to play football, the conference budget and the university’s athletic budget have a significant impact, but at the same time, it harmonizes with the health and safety of students and all.” Who are around the students.
“One thing I can guarantee you is that if we can’t open a university, we won’t have athletics,” he said, keeping in mind the temporary plan is a hybrid of online and in-person learning. “If we can’t open a university for students, then it would be pretty obvious to those people that if you’re playing football in that kind of environment it’s all about the money.”
The NCAA Board of Governors has quickly and quietly morphed into a major part of the equation to determine the fate of fall sports this year. The role of the NCAA during an epidemic has primarily been to consult, issue medical guidelines and protocols, while adjusting the rules and providing exemptions to provide conferences with greater flexibility than usual. It should have more significance recently, however, when the NCAA Board of Governors began to seriously consider the possibility of canceling the championship.
The group, consisting primarily of university presidents representing all three divisions, has the right to cancel or postpone 22 NCAA Fall Championships for sports such as football, women’s volleyball and FCS football. Regular season games and events are, however, at the discretion of individual schools or their conferences.
The NCAA does not oversee the College Football Playoff, but there is a concern among the game’s decision makers that the cancellation of the other fall championships could lead to the inevitable closure – again.
“Yes, you can continue the game of football and all that,” said Shane Leone, chairman of the Football Oversight Committee, “but if you’re not playing other sports, alternatively, what does it look like? We’ll continue Trying. ” We play football and we have fall sports, but everyone is trying to be in the NCAA Championship. If you don’t have that, then the big thing you’re playing for. So what happens? Do you still play a regular season? “
While the board refused not to decide last Friday, Emmert said it was possible that the fate of the Gir Championship would be decided at the next meeting on August 4 – which could prevent any other major moves until everyone else It does not look at what the NCAA decides first. While Power 5 is waiting for the NCAA, a group of 5 is waiting for Power 5.
“Whatever they do, certainly what we are all doing, influences what the FBS is doing,” said American athletic conference commissioner Mike Arsco. “We are hoping that either we start the season on time, or we have a delay, that there is no decision to close things in the next few weeks because we think it will be premature.
“Our timetable will be similar to theirs in almost any event,” he said, but we realize that we’re probably not driving the train realistically over it, although we’re trying to get as much input as possible . Talk to the commissioners, but we realize that they have to depend on what they do. We are realistic. “
Morgan State Athletic Director Ed Scott, who ceased athletic activities on his campus after 12 positive tests, said the mental health aspect of what athletes are experiencing is not receiving enough attention as decision processes dominate discussions . He said that the testing process begins with a concern awaiting any result.
“Student-athletes who were positive, or who were around them and could be at high risk, feared and had some nervousness as far as what’s next, to be frank and what it means to me because I feel fine right now? Said Scott, whose program was part of the MEAC’s decision to postpone Fall Sports. “And not knowing the long-term effects was something that was really cause for concern for our student-athletes because We do not have enough data on this virus to know what the possible long term effects may be.
“Many of our youth first identify with their athletic identity, whether right or wrong, and so it is not an opportunity for them to compete for something for which they have trained their entire lives, For me I’m really worried about something. “He said,” The mental health of our young men and women as we move forward – regardless of the positive or negative consequences. Absence of competition, and self- Efficacy if you’re with it, it’s another end of the spectrum. I haven’t heard enough on the national scene right now. “
Emmert said he still expected the championship to be played in November, but if he is canceled, he said that doesn’t mean regular seasons still can’t happen.
“They could play for a conference championship if they could make it safe,” he said. “Our championship will determine whether or not we can bring large groups of students together in this type of environment and do it safely. This is the decision point.”
“An individual competition – a football game, a basketball game – it’s quite different,” he said. “In the case of a Bowl game or CFP, you’re talking about a championship game. Can you make a bubble with enough lead time for two lead teams to play each other safely? Its The answer can be yes. FCS is participating in a round-robin championship with 20 teams and a full-on championship competition. It’s a very different and much more challenging environment in which one or two more games in a season Too much space to add. “
In a typical college football season, 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Svarbick are in lockstep as members of the College Football Playoff Management Committee. They are the ones who wrote the protocol for determining the four best teams in the country, set the field to four, and would be the ones with the power to do so – if and whenever it happened.
Coronoviruses have changed the dynamic of how the group functions – not reducing respect or communication between them – but by inducing an unusual level of independent decision making. The Big Ten was the first to announce a conference-only schedule for this fall, and the league should soon announce exactly what it looks like. A day later, the Pac-12 took a similar 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 is hurting college athletics,” said Bork, director of Texas A&M Athletic. “We need someone or some group to step up, and I think that’s where the commissioners have done the best job in all of this is providing the best voice. For me right now in the midst of bringing the NCAA forward There is a disconnect., And then you have commissioners, and then you have Power 5 and FBS and the effect on FCS … the lack of that kind of cohesion is disappointing. “
Emmert said he understands the frustration among athletic officials and fans as well – but the issue is about 19,000 teams spread across the country.
“Everyone says, ‘Well someone can’t just make someone a rule, or someone can’t declare that we’re going to do this or do that. I wish it would, but the circumstances are just like that Does not work, ”she said. “… When you say well that we want to speak with a singular voice, I’m sure, the problem is that the situation and aspirations are wildly different in conventions. The urge is natural, the reality is very different. “
Given the differences of preference and process, it is possible that each convention views this decline differently – a scenario that may still work in the CFP era.
“They can’t be inconsistent,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bolsby said, “but they shouldn’t be the same.”
Bjork acknowledged the very real possibility that the SEC and other Power 5 conferences follow the Pac-12 lead and delayed the start of the season – in one conversation he said “we need to think critically as sitting here today the wanted.”
This is a scenario that the Big 12 is not planning for “at this point”.
“Obviously, if any of us decide to go to the conference, it will affect others,” Bowlesby told ESPN. “I think we’ll get some advance notice on that, but no one has made that decision yet – at least not in between. [SEC, ACC or Big 12]. “
For now, they can just punt.