If you have a candle lit for each P5 conference in hopes of a semi regular NCAA football season, you can blow two of those out, as the Pac-12 and Big Ten have officially canceled all fall sports. This article isn’t a political one. I am not hear to debate the rights and wrongs, risks, science or anything related behind these decisions. Regardless of how we all feel individually about what should happen, I believe I speak for everyone when I say I am heartbroken for the players impacted. I’m sad for seniors who cannot put their life on hold to return in 2021 (good job, NCAA, by granting all impacted an extra year though), I’m sad for those who will declare for the draft in very uncertain times. I’m gutted that it came to this. But it did, and here we are. So, I’m going to do my best to break down what the fallout of this could be, and what it means particularly in regards to the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s a ton of layers to this, and I have no crystal balls to see into the future. That said, here we go!
SEC, ACC, Big 12? Set to Play, For Now.
Will the NCAA let them?
Right or wrong, the SEC is going to suit up and play football this fall. As will the ACC, with the Big 12 potentially joining them. There are whispers of some teams like Nebraska and Ohio State looking to jump conferences for the season. I would caution all those looking forward to the season to not get overly optimistic. The NCAA could step in, and as an institution, cancel fall sports for the 2020 season. Even if the season does indeed start as scheduled, there is no guarantee of a complete season, playoffs or a national championship game. What about Bowl Games? I have no idea. I know from everything I am hearing it would appear the SEC and ACC are all in, but don’t expect to be attending any games any time soon as a spectator. Best guess here is that the three remaining conferences will start and finish the season, complete with a playoff and national championship. There is a lot of money riding on that happening. I would anticipate no Bowls taking place. There is no explanation for exhibition games and bragging rights that makes sense. This, of course, provided the NCAA doesn’t nix the entire thing. (Again I am NOT arguing for or against a season, go yell at a wall.)
Or Maybe Not?
With the decision to cancel fall sports at some of the biggest schools across the country, it’s simply inevitable that players will look for a school that will let them play. By and large these kids want to play. There was a flurry of FBS and non P5 players announce their intent to transfer earlier last week when cancellations began. The activity has slowed with all of fall sports at risk and now the NCAA doing the right thing and allowing an extra year of eligibility for those impacted. I do anticipate at least a few big names to transfer in hopes of playing. The players who are unsure of their draft statuses and need more film and experience should absolutely take advantage of the eligibility waiver. Transferring this late in the Summer, grasping a new system and winning a starting position in a new locker room is no small feat. in what looked like it could be the biggest transfer period in history, I foresee a much closer to normal number.
To Spring, Or Leap?
TWO Seasons in one year? Really?
What a decision to be forced to make. Do you stay in school, and hope that our country has a better handle on this thing by the Spring? Do you just take that leap of faith and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, consequences be damned? Do you opt out altogether and set your sights on Fall 2021? If you play spring ball, can you still go through the pre-draft process? Can your body safely handle the rigors of both a college and professional season in the same calendar year (NO)? I cannot fathom making a decision of such gravity under these circumstances. I really do not believe there is a right or wrong answer to any of these, except attempting to play two seasons in a year is a horrible idea. I would much rather these players stay safe, and healthy. Hope for a Senior Bowl. Be in the best shape of your life at the Combine. Pray the NFL pushes the Draft to June to give everyone just a little more time to decide.
We are in an unprecedented time. This pandemic is real. So are the negative effects of no football. Again, this article isn’t to debate that topic. I’m just not going to do that. Regardless of individual thoughts or emotions regarding any of this, please, respect players decisions, emotions and privacy. There is no explanation needed, from anyone or for anyone, regarding one’s choices about the health of themselves or loved ones, or their future and economic security. Point. Blank. Period. Ultimately, some players will play. Some will not. Some will declare for the draft and go undrafted, others will return to school and it will be a surprise. No matter what, DraftRite will be here to bring you as much draft content as we can. We are so thankful for your support!
p.s- Wear. A. Damn. Mask.