As America’s election landscape heats up, prominent college football writers are pushing their own campaign as well — Cancellation 2020.
Cancellation 2020 is a well-organized effort, spearheaded by some of the nation’s most reliable sources of information.
At the top of the ticket stands Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, a longtime writer and columnist who’s often seen as an elder statesman of the industry. Forde’s campaign took a more subtle approach at the beginning but has since ramped up into full campaign mode. Forde’s latest column, co-authored by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, staked out Cancellation 2020’s real platform.
“They can simply field a football team and nothing else this fall, which would look exactly like what it is—a naked money grab that would also appease their fan bases,” Forde and Dellenger wrote. “Or they could basically raise double birds to the NCAA and say We believe all fall sports are safe to contest, so we’re going to play them all, even if there is no national championship. This could be a principled stand on behalf of all athletes—or it could be a shameless smokescreen to justify continuing to play football.”
Riding shotgun on the Cancellation 2020 ticket is The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel, another well-respected reporter and columnist who is largely responsible for the creation of his publication. Mandel has seemingly abandoned his efforts to be the best national college football writer to join Forde in his crusade against a 2020 football season.
Mandel quit the subtle tactics as well and endorsed the public shaming of conferences still trying to play football on Aug. 1, well before the Big Ten and Pac-12 even cancelled their seasons. The big and bad SEC was a predictable target.
Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk hopped on the bandwagon too. Pro Football Talk tweeted that those most upset about a cancellation are the reasons the season is cancelled in the first place. I guess myself, who has socially distanced and worn a mask in all public places should just shut up.
The support for Cancellation 2020 is growing. Former Deadspin writer and current SF Gate columnist Drew Magary took the more radical route, openly pining for the death and destruction of college football. Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg parodically claimed credit for Cancellation 2020, but are we even sure he’s joking at this point?
And so here it is. Cancellation 2020 is in full campaign mode and we’ll likely hear and read more stump speeches in the coming days and weeks. So at this point, the biggest question is how long will the ACC, the SEC and the Big 12 press on with their plans to play the season?
Answer? Who knows. If you’re relying on college commissioners to save football then your chances are less than safe. The ACC’s statement on continuing to play was lukewarm and the Big 12 has reportedly been on the fence throughout the entirety of this process.
Let us hope that Cancellation 2020 falls short of their campaign goals. Otherwise, the financial, economic and educational consequences will be felt for decades, if not longer. Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman touched on the financial impact of not playing in her latest piece. North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham has already publicly stated that the Tar Heels could miss out on $52 million in revenue if no football is played this year. Now extrapolate that to every athletic program in America.
You see where this is headed.
The ACC, SEC, Big 12, AAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt, also known by Forde as the “Stubborn Six”, are fighting the good fight. These conferences are listening to medical professionals, despite the narrative pushed by Cancellation 2020. The chair of the ACC’s medical advisory board has already put his name to the ACC’s ability to play this season.
Football 2020’s momentum is growing. Future first-round draft pick and Ohio State stud Justin Fields has circulated a petition for the Big Ten to rebuke Cancellation 2020 and though it has no legal power, Fields’ petition is drawing blood. That’s even more true as questions arise about whether the Big Ten ever actually voted on playing.
The “Stubborn Six” need to continue to be stubborn. This patient approach displays far more leadership and courage than anyone inside Cancellation 2020 and as it turns out, their patience may be paying off.
There is indeed an election this fall inside the college sports world. Some conferences have already voted while the “Stubborn Six” have yet to cast their ballots. Let’s hope they choose Football 2020 on Election Day.