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.
This edition of the round up comes one week removed from the previous edition, and my goodness, what can change in a week! A week ago conferences were still sorting out how many games they were going to play. There’s been some more clarity on that front, and less clarity on others. Here’s the latest.
Following in the footsteps of the ACC, the Big 12 has opted to allow its teams to play one non-conference game. That makes sense given the league’s 10 members with less intraleague options available for scheduling purposes. They were the last Power 5 conference to announce their decision.
UConn cancels football season
UConn became the first FBS program to cancel their 2020 college football season in its entirety. The Athletic ($) reported earlier in the week that head coach Randy Edsall was going to give his players a voice in what the program was going to do this season. Days later, the school announced they would not be playing this season. The players released this joint statement:
“As a team we are in full support of the decision to not compete in 2020. We have many health concerns and not enough is known about the potential long term effects of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, we have not had the optimal time to train mentally & physically to be properly prepared to compete this season. We love this game and love competing. We came to campus in the beginning of July knowing there would be challenges presented by the pandemic but it is apparent to us now that these challenges are impossible to overcome.”
The MAC becomes first FBS conference to cancel all fall sports
Days after UConn became the first program to shut down football this fall, the MAC became the first conference to hit the pause button on the 2020 season. The league hopes to play in the spring, but deemed a fall season not feasible. Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said, “This isn’t a financial decision. It’s a health & well-being decision.”
NCAA cancels DII and DII Championships
The NCAA hasn’t been at the forefront of much during this current crisis. They issued two decisions this week that seemed like more of a formality than earth-shattering news. Both DII and DII canceled fall championships this year. That comes on the heels of several conferences and additional programs announcing they would not participate this season, if it were to be played.
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) August 5, 2020
The rest of the Group of 5 offers varied structures
Conference USA, the American and Sun Belt will all retain their 12 game conference schedules this season. Rather, those conferences will allow their member institutions to play four non-conference games in addition to their preexisting schedule of eight conference opponents. Most teams will have to add games to reach 12 opponents following the canceled games against Power 5 teams.
The Mountain West will play eight conference games with two non-conference games.
Opt outs continue
The trickle of college football players opting out from the season is gradually picking up steam. It’s not just the quantity of players choosing to forgo the season, it’s the inclusion of big names who could see their names called early in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The most notable players to announce they would not play this week were Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman, Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson and countless others. The list will continue to grow.