College conferences are cancelling their seasons, left and right, making people nervous
First it was the lower divisions of competition. The NAIA announced it wouldn’t play this Fall, then Division 3 of the NCAA, then Division 2, and now FCS and FBS conferences are falling like dominoes.
There are people out there who believe Power 5 is next. When NCAA, Division I, Power 5 falls, there are those who believe we won’t be playing football the fall of 2020 anywhere.
The MAC conference cancelling sent a shock wave through the media. They have been competing since 1946 and are considered a respected “mid-major” in the athletic world.
Here in Kentucky, we have seen the commonwealth of Virginia cancel its fall with other bordering states contemplating attempting to get a season in the spring of 2021. It’s chaos, clearly.
As an interesting aside, I talked to my friend at the Appalachia Prep Combine. He told me there was a fire-sale of people renting places to live in West Virginia from Virginia so their kids could play football this fall. It is the cavalcade of migration, from Virginia to West Virginia, Kentucky feared if it pulled “a Virginia.”
So nervously people wake this morning, just two weeks in Kentucky from putting on helmets, anxious about whether there will be football in Kentucky this coming fall. Further amping up the anxiety is the announcement out of Johnson County, Kentucky, this weekend, that Johnson Central and Paintsville high school have suspended its fall practices “until further notice.”
So, what does all this mean? Well, we contacted some people around the country and have heard some things you need to read before you have a coronary.
First for the MAC. The MAC, and leagues like it (like the SunBelt), were probably shut down the minute the Power 5 announced they weren’t playing games outside its own conference. These guys use “guaranteed money” to fund its programs.
This is true every year. It became even more important to fund the things the NCAA is requiring for college teams to play this fall.
For instance, as an example, the Pioneer League (FCS, Division 1) announced it would forego this Fall. Morehead is a member of that conference. I talked to a coach last night, formerly on that staff.
He told me the second they couldn’t travel to Montana to play the Grizzlies, and collect the $400,000 appearance fee they were to get, playing this fall became financially infeasible. With the cost of the NCAA “safety requirements” mandated to be inculcated this Fall, lots of teams who rely on that type money won’t be able to financially “swing” a season this coming fall.
Last fall, in the famous Georgia State upset in Knoxville which we have had great fun chiding here in Kentucky, sure Georgia State won but they also collected $950,000.00 just for unloading the bus. Mid-majors take game like that for paydays like that. When it because apparent there wouldn’t be pay days like that for them fall/2020, it became economically infeasible to play this fall.
As for Johnson County, I talked with one of my closest friends in that county last night, shortly after seeing the announcement it had suspended its football practices. He told me he was unaware of there being any Covid-19 cases on either team, Paintsville or Johnson Central, though he does readily admit there has been a spike of cases in county.
A football coach from the area talked to me about that county specifically. He said, “Johnson County teams will play. Think about it, if there is ever a time to ‘lay down’ and get this things back ‘under control,’ that time is right now; before the helmets go on August 24.” As he put it, “perfect time to give the kids some time off, can’t install anything anyway under the present KHSAA imposed guidelines.”
So, are all these fall cancellations concerning? Well, I wasn’t up calling around the country to different contacts for nothing. Does it mean we aren’t playing high school football in Kentucky this fall? We don’t think so.
That likelihood is still where it was the day the Board of Control set the present calendar toward the September 11 openers. It will still be a school system decision whether or not they will play. Some will, some will not, but all of them will have the option to play if they believe the pandemic is sufficiently being managed to permit it being done with some degree of safety for their athletes.
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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