“The Wildest Week”
Some called it “the wildest week” in the history of college football as conferences decide whether and how to play during COVID-19.
America played football during the last historic pandemic.
What To Know:
Then & Now
- The future of all football (college, NFL) in 2020 is uncertain.
- July: Rose Parade canceled for the first time since World War II – national college championship games TBD.
- 1st wk of August: Univ. of Connecticut is first Div I school to cancel its season, citing “unacceptable level of risk.”
- 2nd wk of August: Two major conferences postponed seasons, hoping to play in the spring.
What To Know
- 5 major conferences for Division I College Football: “Power Five.”
- 2 conferences postponed their seasons (Pac-12, Big 10).
- 3 other conferences have not (SEC, ACC, Big 12).
- Players & coaches, citing healthy training camps, created one of the most-used hashtags of the week – #WeWantToPlay – but ultimately, conference heads make the decision.
“I do believe you can sufficiently mitigate the risk of bringing COVID onto the football field or into the training room at a level that’s no different than living as a student on campus.”
Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Cameron Wolfe, chair of the ACC's medical advisory group. The SEC, Big 12, and ACC have decided not to postpone their seasons (for now). Regardless, some players (Syracuse University) are choosing not to practice due to COVID.
“You look at the overall numbers during this global pandemic, as far as caseloads, they have not decreased; they have gone up. Trends have not improved; they’ve become worse…it’s just a level of not only concerns but unknown risks. When you’re dealing with the health of human beings, it’s serious.”
Commissioner Kevin Warren, Big 10; the conference postponed its season.
World War I AND the flu pandemic disproportionately affected healthy young people, and delayed & shortened the college football schedule.
18 schools reportedly did not field a team.
However, to help with training and morale, military services formed teams which also competed against colleges.
“It would be difficult to overestimate the value of football experience as a part of the soldier’s training….developing the aggressiveness, initiative and determination of recruits, and the ability to carry on in spite of bodily hurts or physical discomforts. These qualities, as you well know, were the outstanding characteristics of the American soldier.”
President Woodrow Wilson (1919)
Gridiron During Crisis
College football was not canceled during World War I or World War II, though seasons were irregular.
The Rose Bowl was moved from Pasadena, CA to Duke University in 1941 for fear of Japanese attacks on the West Coast.
All college football games were canceled on the weekend after 9/11.
Colleges with football programs are grappling with losing much-needed revenue that supports athletic departments for ALL sports. One mother’s Facebook post about her offensive-linebacker son suffering from COVID reportedly swayed decisions in high places. Read it & see the future for your favorite team:
Here’s an overview of the week:
Big Ten to announce it won’t play games in 2020: Detroit Free Press
Flashback to the 1918 season
The Service Football Program of World War I: Journal of Sports History
What players want, led by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence
Could football teams join other conferences to play in 2020? Nebraska thinks so.
Leadership of the Power Five conferences to discuss postponement
by Jenna Lee,