Where will we be without football?

Virginia and Penn State go head-to-head in a non-conference game during the 2012 season.

Yanping Nora Soong/Wikimedia Commons

Virginia and Penn State go head-to-head in a non-conference game during the 2012 season.

Jack Carmichael, Reporter

A world without college football? Just imagine. Saturdays in the fall, with no college football. Actually, let’s not. That’s a terrible idea. But with the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, it’s a possibility…

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the nation and in the process has put all sports at a standstill. The NBA suspended play as its regular season was beginning to wind down. The MLB ended things with just over two weeks before Opening Day. But, fall sports shouldn’t be affected, right? College football season doesn’t start until days away, and yet the season could be in jeopardy. 

With the NCAA’s decision to end all sports until the end of the semester, and colleges all over the country having their classes go strictly online for the rest of the year, many campuses shut down altogether. The Ohio State University, among others, even closed their campus for the summer. But with spring sports ending and college campuses closed, the football players can’t have spring football practice or workout. And if the closures last into the summer, that pushes back when they can get back to school and prepare for the season.

“It is definitely challenging,” TCU Athletic Director and FWCD parent, Jeremiah Donati, said.  “We are all working through unfamiliar territory and there is a lot at stake in higher education and in college sports.”

Many potential options have been brought up for discussion during this time. The idea of pushing the season back has been talked about a lot, but how far has been the one thing that has not had a definite answer.

Obviously, the best-case scenario still remains that when the first Saturday of September rolls around, fans will be flocking to stadiums all over the nation to watch their teams. This option most likely needs student-athletes to be allowed on campuses by the first of July. 

“COVID-19 has caused enough problems and it seems as if the government is working to get the world back to normal. By the time college football starts, I expect to see fully packed stadiums,” Rick McBroom ‘22 said.

Other options that have been discussed include backing the season up and only playing an eight or nine-game schedule and backing up the season and playing a full schedule in late fall and into early spring of 2021. 

“Personally, I hope that college football starts on time,” avid college football fan, Charlie Bynum ‘22, said. “However, the most important thing is keeping the athletes and fans safe.”

Another possibility for the college football season that has been a hot topic for all sports lately is the idea of playing the games without fans in attendance. 

“Fans are a huge part of the overall in-game experience and it is difficult to imagine them not being able to attend in the short-term. However, the first priority is to return to play. Once we can do that we will assess the viability of having fans in the stadium,” Donati said. 

One thing is for sure, the people of America need their college football. According to ESPN, 25.5 million people tuned into the National Championship game alone. With states beginning to open up around the country, hopefully, we can have a full college football season with fans, bands, and all the other game-day essentials. 

Although, in the state of Texas, Friday nights are essential everywhere, too. The high school season also appears to be in danger. Fort Worth Country Day head coach Brian Farda and former athletic director Brian Phelps both confirmed that there have been talks on what to do with the upcoming season, but no solution has been decided on yet. 

“Conference officials will need to consider the impact of school closures that run deep into the summer, the needed acclimatization and reasonable preparation period for all teams, and the length of schedule, the number of games, and essential conference games,” Farda said. 

With so many uncertainties, it is hard to speculate on the potential for a 2020 football season as the Falcons try to make it three SPC championships in a row. As for the collegiate level, the NCAA continues to work with the CDC to put together a plan for the fall.