Power Five Conference Leaders Answering to Players Proving to be a Bridge Too Far for a Successful Fall Season

After rumors swirled regarding Power Five leaders moving to cancel the college football season, the players united to try to save it. What's next?
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It's going to be a wild week for college football.

That's my first thought as I sit down and try to digest everything that's happened in the last 48 hours across the sport.

On Friday and into the day on Saturday, rumors began running rampant that Power Five leaders were gathering to try to decide whether or not a season should be played.

This reality was only further accelerated on Saturday when the Mid-American Conference announced that all fall sports would be suspended until the spring. This move was the fulcrum for the rest of the FBS, as the MAC became the first major college football conference to postpone its season.

The discussions to cancel have come to the surface after a week in which conference players - led by the PAC-12, began unionizing on social media to fight for their rights as players to take the field in a pandemic. It was clear that players wanted to compete, but not at "no cost", which has been the case with amateurism all along.

The players want the ability to profit off name, image, and likeness, and want the guarantee of health care support being paid for by schools if they contract a COVID-19 related illness.

Given the NCAA's track record of profiting millions upon millions of dollars off its product for decades, this didn't seem like too much to ask from the players as they take the field in a global pandemic.

The Power Five leaders - who were all in favor of playing football last week as evidenced by multiple conferences releasing football schedules - panicked.

Now the Power Five conference heads and university presidents alike across the sport are scrambling. They need to answer to the players, who clearly want to take the field, but want to do so on their own terms, not on the terms of their respective leagues or the NCAA as a whole.

The question about whether or not the season would begin on time started with concerns over COVID-19, and now it's not about that at all. In fact, it's about something much different.

The logic for Power Five leaders canceling is pretty easy to understand. Canceling the season gives them time to try to combat the unionizing of players, which is something they're currently powerless to defend. 

They have no plan, they have no idea how to proceed, and canceling the season gives them time to figure it out on their own - or more ideally - to work with the players for a comprehensive solution.

But matters have now become even more difficult for college football heads as they near a decision. Players across college football, led by one of the best quarterbacks in the sport - Clemson's Trevor Lawrence - have united to stake their claim that they want to play this fall. 

This 11th-hour plea to save the sport puts the Power Five leaders in a tough spot.

They now must support the student-athletes, which is something they've claimed to be a proponent of for decades. But they can't do it on their terms.

For once, they must do it on the terms of the players, who make the sport as lucrative financially as it is today.

So what's next for college football?

Will leaders put their money where their mouth is?

We'll have that answer this week, but prepare for a wild ride that could change the trajectory of the sport - both now, and well into the future.