Well, the first domino has fallen.
On Wednesday, news broke that the Ivy League will cancel the 2020 fall sports season and will not even consider playing athletic contests until after the new year begins.
Cue The Joker’s “And. Here. We. Go.” gif because trust me, this is only the beginning of what may be a crucial blow to college sports and its primary money-maker: football.
That’s right, folks. The chances of there being an even semi-normal college football season have gotten a lot lower. But to be honest, this shouldn’t even be that big of a surprise. Maybe everyone has been a little naive. I know I have, but deep down, I knew this was almost inevitable. With the recent spike in cases across the country, there was no way college sports weren’t going to be affected in the fall.
Professional sport leagues might be able to get away with playing in a bubble, but college sports are a whole different ballgame — no pun intended. These aren’t professional athletes. These are college kids who are going to be on campuses across the nation. They are not able to be truly isolated from others and therefore could be at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and spreading it to those who could potentially die from it.
Now, it’s important to remember that this announcement itself doesn’t really do much to college football as a whole. It’s only one small conference making this decision at this point, and according to some sources, it may not even impact the bigger football conferences.
But I don’t buy it. This seems all too familiar to me. Back in March when everything hit the fan, it was the Ivy League that was the first to cancel its conference basketball tournament, over a week before the rest of college basketball and the entire rest of the sports world had to shut down.
The Ivy League was ahead of the curve then, and I remember that announcement being met with ridicule for taking such a drastic measure. I’m sure this announcement will be received in a similar fashion, but as August draws near, I believe more conferences will have to make a similar decision.
It will probably take longer for the Power Five conferences to come to terms with walking away from the college football season and all the money that comes along with it. Who knows? Maybe they’ll decide to play only conference games with no fans. But mark my words, the 2020 college football season — if it happens — will not resemble any season that came before it.
As a college football fan, this is not the news I want to hear. As a sports fan, it’s just devastating, but unfortunately, I don’t see a scenario where Ivy League schools are the only ones in the country not playing football this fall. That’s just not going to happen.
And if football gets impacted, what does that mean for college basketball or college hockey? What does it mean for the hundreds of thousands of college athletes throughout the country? This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So buckle up, because this virus is going to continue to affect our lives in ways we never could have imagined back in March.