The college football season is kicking off this week, however, many individuals still have a lot of questions as to what this season will look like and what new procedures will be put in the place to protect all parties involved.
The biggest and most general question is if fans can expect a full season of football. The answer is the same for all other sporting events occurring currently in the US; it’s to be determined. This virus has proven to all of us that the way it moves and grows is unpredictable, and the way it impacts college campuses is completely uncharted territory for everyone.
There have already been multiple games rescheduled due to outbreaks on the teams, which is likely to continue as the season progresses. The Big Ten and Pac-12 both announced that they wouldn’t be participating in this season, which is fairly historic in itself. Without the Big Ten alone the entire season is going to be restructured and different. Many college campuses have already shut down due to a spike in cases, so the thought of restarting training and practicing just didn’t seem worth it for Big Ten or Pac-12, and many other teams are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks.
Many big name players on these teams have personally opted out of playing this season out of personal fears of contracting the virus. Additional players are also likely to follow suit as the weeks progress, as juggling sports, a full class schedule and living during a global health crisis would be overwhelming for anybody.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is allowing every player to have another year of eligibility when it comes to playing on the team, which they believe will help motivate players to stay on for the season, despite it already having the opposite effect. All players are also required to be tested multiple times for Covid as well as endure additional heart testing after myocarditis concerns rose.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can weaken the entire organ relatively fast and lead to sudden death. It’s brought on mainly by extensive viral infection within the body, such as contracting Covid-19, and has been a major concern among healthcare professionals across the world. The worry with testing football players is that it’s likely many other underlying health issues will reveal themselves with the type of testing involved for the upcoming season.
The College Football Playoff plans to go ahead with a four-team playoff, however, the idea of playing “bowl-games” also complicates how the season will work. There are currently 80 bowl slots available for the season with only 76 teams playing. This means it’s likely that every team could receive a bowl game this season to fill the slots needed to air college football, however, it’s yet again unclear whether that will work or not.
Finally, another major concern regards the Heisman Trophy, as it typically goes to the most prestigious individuals in college football, however, it’s unclear as to whether or not the Heisman Trust will focus only on players who participate in a traditional fall season, or the more limited number of players. There’s no decision from The Heisman as to what they’ll do, as they likely want to see if an entire football season will even be able to play out.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.