To play or not to play?
Fact: There is an awful lot of uncertainty about the ability of the college sports industry to be able to produce product, games, this fall and winter. Fact: COVID-19 spread has intensified throughout the United States and is hitting the states where college football is a big, big business, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and California. Fact: College football players don’t get paid and may be told they have to play, no matter what, to keep their scholarships. Fact: College football gets an awful lot of revenue from television, marketing partners, boosters, alumni and people buying luxury boxes, club seats and regular tickets to watch student-athletes. Fact: COVID-19 doesn’t care about any of this, it will continue to seek host bodies and infect people. But there are some who want to see college football played and with people in the stands in the middle of a pandemic.
The college football season under normal circumstances would be entering the training camp phase with the season scheduled to start on August 29th. Some of the lesser conferences have already canceled the season. Other conferences are trying to keep the ability to have a fall season start by having conference schools play one another. There is also another option, postponing the season and trying to start up in the spring semester. The people who are talking about the season are the college football industry veterans, the commissioners. You are not hearing from the players, the stars of the show, who would be breathing all over each other, banging into each other and have maximized exposure to COVID-19. Do those student-athletes want to play and is it irresponsible for the college presidents, chancellors and athlete directors to have games during a pandemic to make sure a piece of the revenue stream from TV remains flowing? The clock is running with the season on the line.