The NCAA college football season is expected to start August 27, but as players around the nation undergo consistent testing resulting in several positive cases, concerns are on the rise.
With the United States Coronavirus deaths reaching almost 150,000, and positive cases rising to almost 4,000,000, the reality of delaying the start of the season, or canceling the season all together, seems as if it has become more of a realistic possibility than ever before. The NCAA President, Mark Emmert, was quoted this week saying, “If there is going to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle of the pandemic.”
In a recent study, conducted by Brett McMurphy of Stadium College Football Insider, almost 75% of power 5 athletic conference athletic directors believe that the college football season will continue, but that the season will be delayed several weeks past the original start date, and that fans are likely to not be in attendance.
The mere thought of long time boosters and season ticket holders not being in attendance for the games, as well as the thousands of students and regular fans, poses a huge financial threat for thousands of athletic programs across the nation, especially when taking into consideration smaller programs that solely rely on ticket sales for revenue.
That is the overwhelming sentiment being shared by all of the coaches within the athletic program here at UTC. “The uncertainty of not playing this football season is definitely frightening,” said UTC tight ends coach Jacob Huesman. “We are certainly hoping for a football season this fall, but we will be devastated if our boosters and fans are unable to attend games. We play for them, and it just will not be the same for the players, or the coaches, to be without that energy from the stands during every game.”
While the coaching staff at UTC is anxiously awaiting the national announcement about whether or not the season will begin, another group of individuals are awaiting the announcement just as frantically. The senior members of the UTC football team are extremely worried about the possibility of their last season at the university being canceled due to the fact that it could be detrimental for some players’ potential careers past college if their last chance to showcase their talents is stripped away.
“If this football season gets canceled, the seniors on the football team will be absolutely torn apart,” said senior offensive lineman Harrisson Moon. “For myself specifically, I was able to get an extra year of eligibility through the NCAA due to an injury in my Sophomore year, and this extra season means everything. I have always had hopes of playing in the NFL, and I have already been contacted by teams telling me that they are going to be evaluating my potential this upcoming season, so the season continuing is crucial.”
The University, along with thousands of other programs across the nation, are waiting patiently day by day for any positive news about the upcoming season. The football program at UTC accounts for almost 65 percent of the athletic department’s total revenue, which makes it possible for UTC to aid in funding for over 10 additional sports. The necessity for the football season to continue is overwhelming, but universities across the nation must figure out the best way to keep the players and their families safe, and with much haste.