For many the escapism of college football is an essential part of their lifestyle. As we will soon be entering the month of May and still endure stay-at-home orders from most state governors, the pandemic of COVID-19 now brings with it the possibility of cancelling college football this fall.
While nothing is set in stone yet, some conferences have already pushed back their suspension of sports. The SEC and Pac-12 have moved their suspensions through May 31st, while the AAC, ACC, MAC and Big-12 have no set date to resume operations. The conference with the shortest timetable is currently the Big Ten, which has an end of suspension date set for May 4th. Whether this timeline will stay in place remains to be seen with some state’s governors, such as Ohio, are rolling out plans to gradually re-open the economy in the coming days and weeks.
These timetables are several months before the first kickoff of College Football is set for August 29th, but no one knows what the future holds. The federal government has left the quarantine orders largely in the hands of the individual state governors, so without a unified timeline some schools may be able to participate in sporting events while others are still on lockdown.
There have already been some casualties of cancelled sports to this pandemic. Effective April 10th, the brand-new professional football league, the XFL, discontinued operations and laid off most of its employees. For a new spring league that was making all the right moves on social media and had growing ratings numbers, this pandemic turned out to be the sudden death blow. While more established leagues such as the MLB and NHL have only suspended operations, they cannot survive indefinitely without a stream of revenue. College football is no exception.
The impact of a shuttered football season is more than just the loss of revenue. The power of the largest sport in the United States has the capability to bring people together as a community, not just in a city or state, but as a country. This feeling of belonging has brought citizens together through hard times on numerous occasions and can help pull us out of this pandemic and re-ignite the American drive.