To Play or Not to Play: The Status of Division I College Football


Brett Loftis, Sports Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced every person in the United States of America in some form or fashion over the past six months. This has been especially true in the world of sports. There has been one big question across all sports, especially in Football Bowl Subdivision college football: to play or not to play? 


There has been a lot of uncertainty in the world of sports this season. Even though they all experienced some kind of delay, professional sports such as the PGA, NHL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and NFL have all returned to action. Despite progress being made with professional sports, most collegiate sports have been postponed throughout the rest of the fall. Division 1 FBS football has been partially cancelled as well. Two of the Power Five FBS conferences, Big Ten and Pac-12, have already cancelled their football seasons. Obviously, the reason for these cancellations has been due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, does the risk of playing outweigh the outcomes of not playing? 


If Power Five college football is not played this season, a lot of people will be affected. The most immediate and strongest impact will be felt by the institutions, coaches and players themselves. Many of these top tier athletes have been working their entire lives to make it onto a major college football team. This, in result for many players, is a bridge for them to accomplish their dream of playing in the NFL. However, if they are made to sit out a year, what will happen? NFL Draft stocks will fall tremendously, players may lose some of their skill sets and, most notably, everyone will lose money. The number one draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was Joe Burrow. Before last season, he was considered a sixth round pick at best. Institutions will lose millions of revenue made by college football and players could potentially lose millions, depending on their NFL Draft stock.  


The question has been posed, “What if there is an outbreak throughout college football?”  This is one of the major risks. However, would these players be safer around their teammates and coaches? Or would they be safer being sent home and around people from their respective hometowns? The NBA and NHL created a bubble. MLB and NASCAR have put many restrictions and protocols into place to prevent outbreaks. Therefore, if there is a somewhat rough draft of a template already in place, why not play? The players can opt out if they do not want to play and the coaches can opt out if they do not want to coach. However, if the season is cancelled, the players who want to play will not have the option to play.