This week has brought plenty of updates as to the status of the upcoming college football season amid a pandemic. Here are a few highlights.
It wasn’t that long ago that we thought we’d have answers regarding the status of the upcoming football season by the time August arrived. With August here, uncertainties seem as abundant as they were months ago. Here’s a snapshot of what’s happened in recent days and weeks and, as a result, what we know about the upcoming season.
Big 12 planned media days … and then canceled them
Most every conference postponed their regularly scheduled media days with the season teetering back and forth. The Big 12 is the first FBS league to set a date for a virtual media day with limited participation. That lasted a few days before it was canceled.
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 were the first Power 5 conferences to chop off the nonconference portion of their schedule entirely. The ACC is planning for a hybrid approach, allowing each team to play 10 conference games plus one nonconference opponent. And for the first time in their history, Notre Dame will have an opportunity to compete for a conference championship.
Shortly after the ACC decision, the SEC became the next major domino to fall. That left the Big 12 as the only P5 conference with non-conference games. This decision directly impacts Rice football, which was originally scheduled to play LSU in Houston on September 19.
With most conferences sponsoring some sort of scholarship protection should a player decide not to play this season, we knew opt-outs were going to occur. With prominent NFL players making the decision not to play this week, college players have started to follow suit. The most notable so far is Virginia Tech corner Caleb Farley, projected by some to be a first-round pick.
For the most part, schools are taking the current health challenges as seriously as possible. Michigan State and Rutgers have quarantined their entire football teams in July. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Kevin Sumlin’s staff has suspended a player for violating safety protocols.
The NCAA has offered little guidance during the past few months, following behind their member institutions and offering vague comments that all precautions must be taken. NCAA President Mark Emmert said this week he was “very concerned” about the status of fall sports.