Crucial Decisions Loom For the 2020-21 College Football Season

Ashley Barnett

With the start of the 2020 college football season less than two months away, the past 48 hours have been a portentous time period with the future of the upcoming football season on the line. 

Since the Ivy League announced it's cancellation of fall sports on Wednesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio State has shut down voluntary practices for seven programs - including football - after an undisclosed number of positive coronavirus tests. The ACC has delayed fall sports until September 1; and the Big Ten announced a conference-only football schedule for the fall of 2020.  

As the dominoes continuing to fall, another ominous 24 hours could spell a drastically shuffled schedule - or even an end - of college sports for the remainder of the year. 

Similar to the Big Ten conference, the ACC is expected to follow suit in playing conference-only football games according to Stadium's Brett McMurphy. Although an announcement from the ACC has not been made nor a timeline of the decision is expected as of now. 

In May, states began to slowly reopen the economy. Universities gave the green light for fall classes to be held on campus. In addition, colleges across the nation allowed the return of student-athletes on campus for voluntary workouts. There was optimism in the air for college football to kickoff on its scheduled time frame. However, a recent spike in coronavirus cases in states all over America have turned optimism into unease.

Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde recently reported the concerns of the fall season by NCAA leaders. 

“Until two weeks ago, everybody felt pretty good about starting on time on Sept. 5 and Aug. 29,” says West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, the chair of an important law-making NCAA body, the Football Oversight Committee. “The last two weeks have really put a wet blanket on that, and we’re saying, ‘Maybe that’s not going to happen.’” 

The Ivy League could give a scary foresight of things to come. As nation shut down in early March, the conference was the first to cancel its conference basketball tournaments and the remainder of its spring athletics season. 

A cut in college football could be detrimental for athletic departments, who depend on the revenue of the sport to bring financial aid for other programs. 

Although the Ivy League doesn't carry the same financial benefits as say a Power 5 conference, the health and safety of student-athletes is a common dominator among all universities. 

Time is no longer on the side of fall collegiate sports. The projected start of the football season is seven weeks away. We can only sit and wait to see what the future of the upcoming fall season will look like - as the following days could unfold that hidden mystery. 

Related Links: 

SI Report: NCAA Considering Starting 2020-21 Basketball Season Early

Report: Elimination of Non-Conference Games for 2020 College Football Season a Possible Scenario

Report: Three Student-Athletes, Three Athletic Staff Members Test Positive for COVID-19 at Georgia Tech

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