Item: With an expected announcement as soon as Tuesday morning that the ACC will follow the Big 10, and Pac 12 and join the other Power 5 conferences canceling the 2020 football season, it culminates a whirlwind month of August in which the NCAA and major conference commissioners had to come to the realization that the risk and liability of playing the upcoming season, was outweighed by playing the games and risking the health and safety of its student-athletes.
For the first time since 1943-44 when World War II altered the American way of life, Syracuse University will not field a football team this fall.
Instead, it’s the COVID-19 pandemic which has become a civil medical war of scientific evidence versus those who are non-believers in practicing mask-wearing, social distancing and general caution in regards to protecting the health and safety of their fellow citizens.
Back during the week of March 15, we were visiting with two friends who live in Philadelphia and had joined us as we attended (and covered for this column) the Syracuse-Duke basketball game in the Dome on Feb. 1, in what turned out to be the largest crowd to witness a college basketball game in the post-season shortened 2019-20 season.
We were discussing the initial days of the national pandemic that was evolving by the day, and boldly, perhaps, proclaimed to them that it was unlikely that Major League Baseball and college/pro football would be played this year.
They both shook their heads in disbelief at such gazing into a crystal ball.
Although we were incorrect on the still-to-be attempted 60-game MLB season which came to fruition, it’s noteworthy that the St. Louis Cardinals have played just five games as of Aug. 10 due to a breakout of positive COVID-19 tests among its players/staff, the prognostication about college football turned out to be correct, while there still remains some doubt as to whether the NFL will complete a 16-game schedule.
It’s been a summer of uprising among college football players, with headlines of publicly declaring their dissatisfaction of making their universities tens of millions of dollars without being appropriately compensated.
Throw in the ongoing battle over players receiving a financial return for the use of their names, image, and likeness, and the social media publicized account of the medical travails of Indiana freshman offensive lineman Brady Feeney suffering through a 14 day battle with COVID-19, and the concerns cited by his family of future medical issues related to the disease.
College presidents, boards of trustees along with plenty of their legal counsel, realized the hardest of decisions had to be made in regards to potential future lawsuits.
Those decisions have been made in rapid fashion the past week, with the ACC’s conclusion adding to the dominoes falling each day this month.
The 2020 season played on college campuses had to be canceled until those in charge nationally take charge, finalizing the steps necessary to produce a vaccine to combat this horrid disease. Until then, college sports are on hold like so many other elements of our daily lives.