Safety, Not Money, will Eventually Decide Fate of 2020 College Football Season

Christopher Walsh

The college football season is already a whirlwind and we haven't even opened fall camps yet. 

We don't even have a Southeastern Conference schedule yet (although it could be released by the time you read this, we're that close). 

A lot of it has to do with decisions about whether to play this fall have been pushed to the point that they really can't be delayed any more. You blink and a major announcement is made.

For example, just from the past day or two alone:  

The Division II and Division III governing bodies voted Wednesday to cancel their fall postseason.

Pac-12 leaders have agreed to schedule a call with a group of conference players who are threatening to boycott the 2020 season

Big Ten football players released requests on Wednesday for increased testing and safety protocols.

Penn State won't have fans in Beaver Stadium.

The list of players opting out is beginning to really gain momentum: 

  • Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
  • Ra'Von Bonner, RB, Illinois
  • Kevin Doyle, QB, Arizona
  • Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
  • Mark Fox, OL, South Carolina
  • Oren Milstein, K, Vanderbilt
  • Jacub Panasiuk, DE, Michigan State
  • Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
  • Jordan Rhodes, OL, South Carolina
  • Gregory Rousseau, DL, Miami
  • Jomaious Williams, DL, New Mexico State
  • Kassidy Woods, WR, Washington State

In the midst of this, the NCAA made a couple of key decisions that shouldn't be overlooked. 

Among them, those who opt out for the 2020 season will retain their scholarships.

Schools may not require athletes to sign COVID-19 waivers.

The NCAA has established a hotline allowing “athletes, parents or others” to report COVID-19 violations. It gives players a way to make the NCAA aware of unacceptable behavior by coaches who may be inclined to bully and/or to retaliate those who would dare to complain.

“We have very serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of our nation,” the NCAA explained in a three-page document to its member institutions.

Let's not kid ourselves, that whirlwind is more like a rotating whirlpool, and anyone who's seen one on the bathroom knows what's at the bottom. The only reason why the fall 2020 season hasn't gone down the drain yet is money, but eventually it'll come down to something else, safety. 

A Modest Proposal to Save the 2020 NFL Season

Major League Baseball is already on the brink, and college football is struggling to conceive how to stage a season at all. Next up will likely be FCS.  

Pretty soon, though, the focus will shift to the NFL, which has already opened training camps. 

Like MLB and college football, the NFL can't really use a bubble concept, meaning isolate everyone as much as possible for the entire season, due to the sheer numbers involved. 

While's it's had the luxury of time to proceed business as usual so far, as the season nears the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic awaits the league.

Should the NFL consider overhaul to the schedule amid COVID-19 pandemic?

SI's Mitch Goldich thinks so and has a couple of suggestions for avoiding the mess MLB has been dealing with. The formula goes beyond what college football is doing, though: Prime-time games only. Alternating weeks between AFC and NFC. And, yes, far fewer games. 

College football should take note, because if it has to bump everything back to the spring, which is looking more and more like a real possibility each day, some of the ideas could only help it get through the season. 

Walking the Walk

Kudos to the NBA Board of Governors and the NBPA announcing the NBA foundation, which will donate more than $300 million dollars to black social and economic causes over the next 10 years.

Basically, one million dollars per each team over the next 10 years will amount to that 300 million, which Chris Paul, of course, part of the NBPA, and he says that's just the start. 

Hopefully the sports will either join in or do something similar. Instead, we still see stories like this one: Why MLB is Losing Black America.

Meanwhile, former Alabama assistant coach Mike Locksley, now the head coach at Maryland, has formed the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches to help increase minority hiring in college and professional football.

Locksley first started thinking of developing a program like the Coalition in 2018, when he worked as Alabama's offensive coordinator, and he's called on some familiar names to help as Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban have agreed to serve on the board of directors. 

We're big on people who don't just talk, but walk the walk. 

Did you notice?

• Remember the Honeybadger? How Tyrann Mathieu Found His Way Through the Chaos On and Off the Field

The NFLPA has also set up a whisteblower hotline to report health and safety violations

• If the Blazers can sneak into the playoffs, they’re going to be extremely dangerous. 

• What are the craziest statistical performances we might see in a 60-game baseball season?

• Players describe making their MLB debuts in empty stadiums. 

• MLB is tweaking its coronavirus protocols in response to recent outbreaks.

Christopher Walsh's notes column All Things CW regularly appears on BamaCentral

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Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh


A quick add: Purdue star WR Rondale Moore has opted out of 2020 season, will enter the 2021 NFL Draft

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