Two top conferences aren’t playing college football this fall, but other impacts are likely even beyond that.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports outlined how the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to slow or even halt major coaching changes at the college level, especially in football. Schools will be impacted by what Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick called a “financial carnage” that will make universities very reluctant to pay expensive buyouts to get rid of coaches.
“I don’t see how an AD will be able to go to their president, no matter how much pressure is on the program, and justify the cost of some of these buyouts in the current climate,” said Drew Turner, vice president of Collegiate Sports Associates, a coaching search firm.
There are other reasons coaching changes are likely to be down. Evaluating coaches in 2020 will be more difficult than ever. Even schools that could theoretically afford a major buyout would face a public relations issue. People aren’t likely to approve of a school that decides to pay someone millions not to work right now.
Thamel cites two possible opportunities for coaching changes. One is if a coach decides to retire. Another is if some athletic director shrugs off the consequences and seizes the opportunity to conduct a coaching search essentially unchallenged.
In other words, coaches on the hot seat can breathe a little easier. That includes the likes of USC’s Clay Helton, who was retained last December. The buyout on Helton and his staff has been reported to be roughly $20 million. USC isn’t going to pay that right now.
The NCAA may or may not need to play some competitions in a bubble in the near future. Based on one hint, they’re certainly preparing for the possibility.
Last week, the NCAA filed to trademark the phrase “Battle in the Bubble,” according to Darren Rovell of Action Network. The NCAA would intend to use it on tournaments not exclusive to basketball, as well as on apparel.
There is no clear indication what the trademark would specifically be used for. In fact, it may just be the NCAA covering its bases in case it’s needed. It’s definite evidence that a bubble scenario for some sort of tournament is at least on the table.
This isn’t the first indication of a bubble being an option. This may be the reality for things like March Madness within the next year depending on how things go.
Student-athletes will have difficult decisions to make regarding whether or not they want to play this fall or spring, but they will not have to take their eligibility into consideration.
The NCAA on Friday approved a blanket waiver stating that all fall sport athletes will keep an additional year of eligibility regardless of whether they play this upcoming season. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic shared some details of the ruling, noting that the eligibility waiver does not necessarily guarantee students will receive the same financial aid they have now for an additional year.
The ruling is significant, as it will allow NCAA football players to play an additional year of college ball. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already postponed their fall seasons, but the ruling applies to a spring season as well. The SEC, ACC and Big 12 are still hoping to play in the fall.
The NCAA’s eligibility waiver was approved on the same day a group of Big Ten parents protested outside the conference’s headquarters.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields launched a petition this week in an attempt to get the Big Ten to reinstate the season, but that is almost certainly not going to happen. Fields is one of a number of star players who may jump to the NFL in the spring rather than taking part in a postponed college season.
The NCAA announced on Thursday that they have canceled championships for fall sports, but president Mark Emmert is focused on ensuring other sports are able to compete in the future.
“We cannot now have fall NCAA championships. Because there are not enough schools participating … if you don’t have half the schools participating, you can’t have a legitimate champion,” Emmert said in a video posted on social media.
“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t and can’t turn towards winter and spring and say ‘how can we create a legitimate championship for all those students?'”
Though there will not be fall championships, Emmert still hopes students are able to remain engaged with their coaches in the fall and stay ready to play.
The NCAA also canceled championships for winter and spring sports earlier this year, which is why Emmert says he wants to prioritize having championships for those teams next year. Notably, Emmert says they will consider various options to ensure safety of athletes, such as the use of predetermined sites and a possible move towards bubble or semi-bubble models, which he describes as “doable.”
Keep in mind, what the NCAA decides for fall sports does not apply to college football, whose champion is crowned by the College Football Playoff, not the NCAA. Conferences like the Big 12, ACC and SEC are still considering playing seasons this year. Since they have their own conferences, relationships, and TV contracts, they could act independent of the NCAA.
The NCAA is taking more steps towards having a plan for a 2020 college football season.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported on Thursday that the NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a recommendation that coaches can begin formally working with their teams on July 13.
This recommendation needs to be passed by the NCAA Division I council, which is expected to happen when they vote on June 17.
Here is what the process would look like:
– July 13: 8-hour weeks featuring strength training and film study
– July 24: 20-hour weeks incorporating physical elements like walkthroughs and a ball
– August 7: training camps can begin
The NCAA cleared teams to meet with players for voluntary workouts on June 1.
The NCAA has permitted the first preliminary step that would lead to the resumption of college sports.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the NCAA voted on Wednesday to allow football and basketball players to voluntarily return to campus during the month of June. That marks the end of the moratorium on all athletic activities that runs through the end of May.
A source told Thamel that guidance for other sports is likely coming within the next week.
This is a very small step, but an important one, as it indicates some movement toward playing. It does not guarantee that college football season will start on time, or even be played in its entirety. The warning from one top school’s athletic director on Wednesday is a reminder of that. However, it’s something, and any positive step is good news right now.
Fans have been wondering whether there will be college football played in the fall. While we don’t know that answer yet, we do know that schools are unlikely to have sports if students aren’t on campus first. That’s what Mark Emmert says.
Emmert, the NCAA president, had a conversation about the future of college sports in the coronavirus environment. A video of the conversation was posted on the NCAA’s Twitter account. The main takeaway is that Emmert says there won’t be fall sports if students aren’t allowed on campus.
“College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college (campuses) open and having students on them. You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body,” Emmert said.
“That doesn’t mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. … If a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”
Emmert says that contact tracing and testing must be improved and much more readily available in order for schools to be open and sports to take place. He indicated that schools would likely have to make a decision on what will happen for the fall within the next month or so.
There is also a possibility of fans being able to attend events so long as they follow the rules in place in their respective areas. And since different schools may have different policies, that could result in unbalanced athletic schedules, with some programs playing more or less than others.
There is so much uncertain currently, but there is one thing we do now: the NCAA says they are not going to put student-athletes at any more risk than what non-athletes experience.
The NCAA is moving in the direction towards allowing student-athletes to make money off their name, image, and likeness.
ESPN’s Dan Murphy has a long article on the subject matter that is worth your time if you are interested. The main takeaway is the the NCAA had a working group study the possibility of allowing student-athletes to make money.
The working group is planning to propose changes to the NCAA in a meeting on Tuesday. The changes they are proposing to the NCAA include allowing student-athletes to appear in ads, have clothing deals, and hire agents for marketing opportunities.
Colleges refuse to put student-athletes on the payroll of the athletic department, feeling that is a non-starter as far as negotiations go to allow them to make money. But they are getting closer and closer to bending on the issue of athletes being able to have endorsement deals while in school.
Some athletes are starting to eschew college in favor of the NBA’s developmental program. There are not similar options for football players though since college football is the closest thing to a minor league for the NFL. But there has been a growing acknowledgment that the student-athletes should be allowed to capitalize on their fame while in school, and the NCAA is evolving to recognize that.
According to Murphy, the NCAA “typically votes on new rules at their annual meeting in January, but the board of governors can institute new policies at other times if deemed necessary.” If they do not feel this is extremely high priority, the proposal could wait until next year.
The NCAA is seriously considering measures to allow student-athletes a one-time transfer without penalty, but it won’t be happening for this coming season.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, a June vote is possible, but even if the proposal passes, it’s unlikely to be instituted before the 2021-22 season.
This is another major change in how things are run in college sports that will give more power to players. The proposal is increasingly backed by major conferences and seems inevitable, but next season’s crop of athletes don’t look like they’ll get to benefit. Still, this is now being discussed as a realistic possibility, which is a huge shift.
The NCAA has stepped up to do right by its athletes.
The organization’s Division I council voted on Monday to grant an extra season of eligibility to spring athletes whose seasons were canceled due to the coronavirus. The extra year of eligibility
There were questions about how the scholarship and financial aid would work for athletes granted an extra year of eligibility, because the addition of incoming freshmen next year plus athletes returning for a senior season would put programs over their scholarship limits. The NCAA approved schools to go over the scholarship limits next year.
Here are the guidelines:
“Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility who decide to stay. In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.
There will also not be roster limits for the 2021 baseball season, which is the lone spring sport with roster limits.
Unfortunately, athletes who competed in winter sports, such as men’s and women’s basketball, will not get an extra year of eligibility, but at least spring athletes who were only a month or less into their season before it was canceled are getting an extra year, as they should.