"The Stack" 8-17-20

The Big Ten as well as the Pac-12 postponed the college football season for their respective conferences for the fall until the spring (if that even happens). The news has caused quite a stir in the college football world. This was one of the darkest weeks that college football has seen maybe ever.

The Stack is back and what a dark week it has been for college football. Two of the power five conferences are down. Only three remain? Will we even have a college football season? Let’s discuss it more in “the stack” for today, Monday, August 17th:

Big Ten, Pac-12 postpone football to spring

The utter chaos and lack of leadership within the Power 5 is astounding. After so many different reports and information going back and forth on Monday, it seemed likely that the Big Ten would postpone their season and try and do it in the spring. That’s exactly what happened. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren announced the decision, but it wasn’t unanimous by any stretch. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said that the school would look at all of their options. Iowa sounded like they wanted to play too. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Penn State head coach James Franklin were disheartened by the decision and understandably so, but the health and safety of the student athletes come first. This means though that no students should be on any of the campuses, right? I haven’t heard for sure, but I don’t believe that is the case.

Shortly after the Big Ten’s decision, the Pac-12 followed suit. Their decision however exceeded what the Big Ten did. The Pac-12 has said that no sports will be played until January 1st, 2021, at the earliest. While not all that surprising it is still rather stunning that the Pac-12 isn’t going to try any sports until the beginning of next year. That’s just what this virus has done to this country and to the world of college sports, especially the money making machine that college football is.

Shortly after the Big Ten and Pac-12s announcements, the ACC and SEC came out with statements advising that they still are proceeding with their seasons. That’s not surprising given how big football is in those conferences. Not saying that it isn’t important to the Big Ten and Pac-12, but considering the number of playoff worthy teams in these conferences, they want to play. The regions that the teams are in. They want to play.

Well, maybe not quite everybody. Syracuse and Pittsburgh both had multiple practices cancelled last week due to concerns from the players regarding testing. Pittsburgh and Syracuse don’t really matter too much in the grand scheme of things, but every school needs to be on board with being able to play this season. The ACC needs to ensure that these student athletes are taken care of and that the testing protocols at the bare minimum meet the standards set by the CDC. They need to exceed them in my opinion and I’m sure in the eyes of just about everyone else out there.

The Big 12 made an announcement after all of the other conferences released statements and made their decisions and advised that they were proceeding with fall sports. The Big 12 often seems forgotten, but it is important that they play, because that means as of now three of the five Power 5 conferences still plan on proceeding with playing.

The North Dakota State University Bison said that they won’t play this fall and may look to play in the spring. They’ve only won three straight FCS championships and eight of the last nine titles so when they make an announcement of this magnitude, it adds a little weight to things. The Southland conference said that they won’t be playing any conference games until at least the spring, but that schools could play their non-conference schedules. That seems a little stupid, but if it brings money into the athletic department, as we’ve said before, money and the color green mean a lot to this sport and these schools.

Back to the Big Ten though. Parents of players from Ohio State and Iowa (and maybe a few other schools as well) have asked Commissioner Warren why things changed so quickly, just days after the Big Ten released their schedule for the season. What information did the conference get? Should that information have been privy to the athletes and their parents? They are fair questions. I don’t think the Big Ten did anything without the student athletes’ best interest and health in mind, but if the players and parents thought they would be playing and something changed, they have a right to know why that decision was made.

To top it all off, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has gotten a petition going that has over 15 thousand signatures on it asking that they be allowed to play football. It does not seem likely that this will work, but crazier things have happened. I hope that this would change the conference’s decision, but only if safety protocols go above and beyond to ensure the players and coaches’ safety. There may be more on this story to come. Stay tuned.

What a crazy week in college football last week. We’ll see if anything changes this week. Don’t be surprised if/when it does.

Coming up Tuesday: NBA Playoff preview