With the college football season in peril, any return to collegiate sports will be determined by state officials and individual universities. This news comes in the wake of NCAA president Mark Emmert’s announcement that the NCAA won’t oversee a uniform resumption.
Technically speaking, conferences won’t be able to mandate a uniform start date either.
“Normally, there’s an agreed-upon start date for every sport, every season, but under these circumstances, now that’s all been derailed by the pandemic,” Emmert said. “It won’t be the conferences that can do that, either. It will be the local and state health officials that say whether or not you can open and play football with fans.”
The decision by Emmert and the NCAA to forego the responsibility of supervising and potentially mandating a uniform return to college sports goes against the wishes of many college football coaches.
Penn State coach James Franklin noted his desire for the NCAA to provide national guidelines, and several Pac-12 coaches showed support for the idea of a uniform start date mandated by the NCAA. Emmert’s latest comments separate him and the NCAA from that line of thinking.
“We already saw the Oregon governor offering her views on what’s likely to happen in September,” Emmert said. “The Pac-12 can say, ‘Gee, we’d all like to open up on this date,’ but whether or not you can is going to be ultimately up to the state and local health officials and the campus itself making a decision whether or not they want to go forward.”
Emmert Calls Return Protocol ‘Localized Decisions’
For the sake of fairness, Washington coach Jimmy Lake expressed his desire for all major college football programs to begin six weeks of preseason training on the same date.
“I’m of the opinion it would be great if the NCAA made a blanket rule for the whole nation of when we would start, and I understand some states may be less hit by this than most,” Lake said. “And I’m sure there’s going to be some different opinions on this. In my opinion, I believe the NCAA should step in and say, ‘OK, here’s the date when everybody can start.'”
Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Colorado’s Karl Dorrell were in favor of Lake’s approach, but Emmert once again disagrees.
“These are localized decisions,” Emmert said. “Local campuses have to decide: Are we opening up, and are we bringing students back to play sports? The NCAA doesn’t mandate that, nor should it. The schools themselves have to make those choices.”
Taking the role of providing guidance and support, Emmert and the NCAA appear to be steadfast in their refusal to accommodate the wishes of coaches with a set of rules for the return of sports, noting the imbalance of the coronavirus’ impact throughout the country.
SEC Teams Dominate List of College Football Favorites
Should the college football season get underway with relative uniformity among the major programs, familiar faces will sit atop the list of favorites to win this season’s College Football Playoff.
Led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who many expect to be taken first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Clemson leads all teams with odds of +175 to win it all. They’re trailed closely by Ohio State, which owns odds of +400.
From that point, the SEC dominates the list of college football frontrunners, as each of the next four contenders hails from that conference.
With odds of +700, Alabama is third on the list of favorites. The Crimson Tide is followed by Georgia (+1000), Florida (+1600), and the defending champion LSU Tigers (+1600).
Texas A&M is tied with Oklahoma for the ninth-best odds of +3000, and Auburn is level with Oregon at +5000, earning them the 14th spot on the list of college football contenders.