The Kentucky Wildcats have been gearing up for an SEC East title run since the offseason began. However, this dream may not even have a chance to become reality.
In a recent article, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd spoke with several coaches and athletic directors around the country about the potential cancellation of the 2020 football season. This was also alluded to last week in another article for A Sea of Blue, but the sentiment is growing stronger each and every day.
First, college basketball. Then, the College Worlds Series. Next, it looks like it could be college football.
“I am not trying to be overly pessimistic, but I’m doubtful we’re going to have a 2020 football season, NFL or college,” said Warren K. Zola, a respected expert on sports law and executive director of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
While the season is still five months away, gathering 50,000-100,000 fans in close vicinity might not be the best idea. Moreover, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have already been postponed and this event was scheduled to take place July 24th through August 9th—just a month before the college football season is supposed to begin.
The postponement of the Olympics is when the possibility of college football being next really hit Texas A&M Aggies athletic director Ross Bjork.
”With that news right there, then that starts creeping into the football season and training camps and scheduling,” Bjork said. “… I don’t know how you operate [if the season is canceled]. Where would the bailout come from? Because we would all have to have one if we were going to maintain any sort of normalcy.”
He isn’t the only SEC AD worried about it, either.
“Just the thought of it, I think we’re all thinking about [losing the season],” Georgia AD Greg McGarity said. “Now, what does that mean? That’s what is going to be defined here over the next two or three weeks.”
The next two or three weeks is probably even a bit conservative, as no one knows how long this pandemic will last.
There’s no recruiting. Players aren’t allowed on campus. Gyms are closed. Spring football practices and offseason athletic training is cancelled.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Florida Gators AD Scott Stricklin are both cautiously optimistic, but they recognized the need for contingency plans and preparing accordingly. That right there should tell you where their worry truly lies.
Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield (or Satterwhite as Governor Beshear calls him) and new Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach believe the season will get underway under normal conditions, but they cite no reason for their optimism.
The landscape of college football truly affects the entire college sports world. Football accounts for the majority of athletics revenue at most schools. One example Dodd notes is Georgia: $141 million (80 percent) of their $176 million athletic budget, which is sixth-largest in the country, comes from football.
And what about tickets? Schools are likely struggling to find anyone who will buy them right now, even if they did lower their exorbitant prices.
There are so many questions, concerns, and unknowns during these trying times. While football isn’t the most important issue surrounding this country at the moment, it could be a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans.
That glimmer is getting smaller by the day. Now, all we can do is hope that country recovers, and then sports will return.