The Beatless Beat Writer: Will college football happen in 2020?

Joey Blackwell takes a look at if the 2020 season is in jeopardy
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The views and opinions expressed in this story do not necessarily reflect those of BamaCentral and its employees.

Ok, hear me out.

What we as a nation have been through has been tough. There's no other way to put it. During this current pandemic, we have all had to make sacrifices. That can be something as simple as not being able to eat at your favorite restaurant, more elaborate such as the class of 2020 not having their respective graduations, or even more so difficult as not being able to see loved ones.

Personally, I haven't been able to see my girlfriend — who lives across the state — for almost two months despite neither of us falling ill.

While everyone has had to deal with different obstacles during quarantine, one thing that most likely remains in common amongst us that read sports websites is this:

There hasn't been any news from college football.

I know, I know. I've talked about this at length many times before. Shoot, all sports journalists have. Speculation and hypothetical scenarios are what we have been forced to write about for so long minus the three-day oasis that was the NFL draft.

One question lingers on everyone's minds, though: will college football happen in 2020?

The answer is not so simple, and opinions on both sides are equally warranted. In today's blog entry, I want to give my personal take.

Yes, the 2020 college football season will happen.

'What makes you think that' you ask? Well, let me lay down my thoughts.

Over the past several weeks, we've seen states begin to reopen. Many see this as premature, however I do not. Outside of the outlier states like New York and California, the majority of states have not been hit incredibly hard by COVID-19. With the desire — no, the need — to get the states' respective economies back up and running, the states with less problems have begun to reopen to lessen the burden on businesses and local economies. This has been welcomed by many but also opposed by a large group as well.

Today, the state of Alabama is allowing many businesses to reopen given that they follow 'Safer at Home' guidelines. These include social distancing, safe hygienic practices and other regulations.

While many are wary of the state's reopening (as they should be), I personally believe that this is the right move. Alabama governor Kay Ivey and I might not agree on every political policy, but I feel that she and her committee have done an outstanding job at handling the current pandemic. Kudos from me to Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox as well.

You don't see a journalist compliment two politicians from opposing political parties in the same paragraph very often, do you?

So what does this have to do with football? In one word, money. Each and every year, college football brings millions of dollars into local economies. These small cities like Tuscaloosa revolve around students returning to campus and college football. Without college sports and students, the economy worsens for those small communities.

Obviously, it isn't up to those communities whether college football will make its return. However, we have had hints from those in authority that it will happen.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has stated that even if the NCAA does not return, the SEC will have college football in 2020. What exactly that means, I don't know. I don't think anyone but Sankey knows.

In that same article, you can see that NCAA president Mark Emmert says that if colleges don't have students on campus, then football won't happen.

Lately we've been seeing a trend of college campuses announcing that they will be open this fall. University of Alabama president Dr. Stuart Bell has said multiple times that he is excited for students to make their return. With most major schools announcing that they will return to normal operations in the late summer/early fall, I feel that this is a good sign for college football.

While matters still need to be sorted regarding the states of New York and California and their schools, the vast majority of college campuses should reopen by fall.

I mentioned in a previous story that a lot of the struggle hinges on the PAC-12, since its institutions are located primarily on the west coast. Heck, Alabama's season-opener is against USC. However, I don't feel that several schools being forced to remain closed would hinder the entirety of college football screeching to a halt.

Bottom line: there's simply too much money involved for the 2020 season to be canceled.

Despite all odds stacked against it, the U.S. needs this. We need college sports. Heck, we need sports in general. There's nothing like college football to jumpstart the country back into normalcy, and by golly will it get the job done.

I'm just dreading all of the coronavirus-related stories during next year's broadcast of the NFL draft ...


The Beatless Beat Writer is a series of stories by BamaCentral's own Joey Blackwell. The series is meant to reflect on and discuss Alabama athletics and its fans in Tuscaloosa during the current pandemic.