College football has long been one of the things people look forward to this time of year and with some exceptions it’s noticeably absent due to the pandemic. College football fans including Peter Nyberg, CFO of Camino Community Center, a Non-Profit in Charlotte, North Carolina, are waiting for the BIG10 to make a final decision about what’s going to happen next — while other college conferences are just going for it.
For awhile there, college football was completely off the table. The BIG10 and the PAC-12 both said in August they were putting sports on hold. Meanwhile, the BIG12 has said all along it intends for business as usual on the field, which has held true — with some new protocols.
Enhanced Testing Could Mean More College Football This Fall
Now with improved COVID-19 testing protocols (rapid testing), it looks like there’s still a chance for the season to begin in fall across all the major college conferences rather than spring as previously suggested. The BIG12 has entered into a partnership for rapid testing, saying the method will produce results in a matter of 15 minutes, with three tests scheduled per week. Meanwhile, says Peter Nyberg, the PAC-12 also has plans to bring coronavirus testing machines to the college conference campuses by month’s end, but it may not be until November until games resume.
The college conference leaders met about the possibility of kicking off the season sooner rather than later, but we’re still waiting for the green light, says Peter Nyberg. It looks like it’s going to be an “all or nothing” approach for the BIG10, he adds — all of them need to agree to move forward. It will take some work to sway them all in that direction.
But he adds that part of the problem is that if a player tests positive, they will have to quarantine along with anyone who was in close contact with them, which will have an obvious impact on the roster — after all, football is a contact sport.
College Conferences Already Dealing With COVID-19 Cases
But to gauge what might happen if all the players resume playing this fall, let’s take a look at what’s happened already among the college conferences (the SEC is scheduled to start later in September). Even before the season started, several players at the University of Oklahoma — part of the BIG12 — tested positive following pre-season practice.
And let’s not forget the number of positive tests for student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin (of the BIG10), which is dealing with an outbreak that has shut down the school’s activities for a couple of weeks. And that’s part of the risk of resuming college sports, says Peter Nyberg: the possibility of infected players spreading it throughout a campus.
There’s no doubt there’s a lot of money on the line — college football generates a lot of revenue for the universities as well as the local economies, says Peter Nyberg. But it seems the decisions are being made largely with player and personnel safety in mind rather than the bottom line. But with the amount of pressure on the college conferences to get going, we may see more college football sooner rather than later, even though star players are opting out.
Either way, you’ll probably be enjoying the games from home, unless the college conferences open up some seating, which the SEC is apparently planning to do.