I touched on this a little the other day — how is college football going to deal with the likely possibility of uneven openings across the country? Judging from Brett McMurphy’s latest survey, not very well.
Perhaps the most perplexing question regarding the upcoming college football season is what does a conference do if all of its member schools can’t return their students to campus in the fall?
“This is the piece that is perplexing us all right now,” a Power Five AD said. “Additionally, what if a political body in one state says [the schools in that state] can’t play?”
“We cannot afford for a few boats to sink the fleet,” added one Group of Five AD, who asked his fellow league members for recommendations in case the entirety of their conference wasn’t able to play.
The states of Florida, North Carolina and Texas each have schools from four different conferences, while California is the home to four Pac-12 schools and three Mountain West schools. This could impact both leagues since California’s governor and local officials have said it would be unlikely California could hold sporting events before Thanksgiving.
“This is a great question that we often get stuck on — and this could happen,” said a Group of Five AD. “Those that could return, need to go to start the process of getting back to normal. At some point, things will get back on track and if some can safely make it happen, this gives hope for others who can’t. It also puts pressure on those who stand in the doorway preventing economic recovery.”
Added another Group of Five AD: “I could definitely see scenarios where all but one or two schools [from a conference] are ready to proceed and a season is played without them. I think the Group of Five would follow the Power Five’s lead and the Power Five conferences would defer to the TV networks to determine which [schedule] is preferable.”
If a conference decides to play football this season, but certain league members aren’t able to play, how would the television revenue be divided?
“Those that don’t play probably won’t get their full share of media rights revenue,” a Power Five AD said.
Yet another athletic director thought those programs would receive their share of revenue.
“I believe so,” the AD said. “When those schools who do not go to bowl games, NCAA tournaments or field competitive teams, they still share in the revenue.”
“Would the decision to play in the fall change if the schools that couldn’t play were Alabama, Auburn and LSU, compared with Vanderbilt, Tennessee or Missouri?” asked one AD who does not represent an SEC school. “I hope not, but these are unprecedented times.”
Every asshole for himself, in other words. Puts me in mind of one of my favorite Cheers quotes:
Can you imagine the political pressure that will be brought to bear in states with SEC schools where arena sports remain closed while other states within the SEC have opened arena sports?