In a move that may become a trend, UNC notified season ticket holders that they will not distribute season tickets, as well as reduce fan capacity to better incorporate social distancing. Obviously this is in response to the continued issues with COVID-19. We could insert a joke in here about UNC having a lot of experience with reducing season ticket sales and limiting capacity in Kenan Stadium.. but that’s low hanging fruit and we’re above that, right?
No collective decision has yet been made on whether or not a college football season will happen or not. Honestly, not having a plan by now could be putting players in harm’s way as we speak. NC State is returning to practice next Monday, August 3rd. Cases keep popping up around the country. Four days ago Michigan State entered a 14 day quarantine after a second staffer and an athlete tested positive. If games are played at Ohio State, at best they will be reducing capacity to 20%, with no tailgating.In June, Rutgers had four cases, now they have another six, so the entire program is sidelined. On top of that, New Jersey has 36 states (that’s out of 50) on the list of a required 14 day quarantine upon return. Start cross-checking that with map of the Big 10 and you’ll start running into problems real fast.
The fact that UNC still had plans as of this week to have fans in the stands at all shows how complicated the web of college sports is. You can’t just blame the NCAA because they control national championship events, playoffs, meets, etc. However, they do NOT have any authority over what counts as a regular season in any sport. They are delaying their decision for now on how championships for fall sports (not football) will be handled.
Adding a wrinkle to that, the NCAA has limited say over Division I college football. The conferences control the CFP and the bowls. This is why each conference is making its own decisions on how to handle their schedules, and trying to balance it with their members’ state guidelines. But the NCAA still approves when schedules can start, leading them giving a waiver to allow the schedule to start a week earlier than normal.
It is a tangled mess, with the shadow of the pandemic continuing to grow in several states, not go down. The likely scenario is the season will be started come hell or high water, because football. This will likely be followed by a few outbreaks scattered across the country in various locker rooms. If the season actually makes it to the end, then certain teams will play fewer games than others, and it will be big stew of confusion as to who the “best” teams in each conference are.
As if that conversation is usually simple in football anyway. Happy thoughts!