UConn president speculates that fall sports will be canceled

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No one knows what will happen with college or pro football this year, but the president of one university currently believes that there will be no college football in 2020.

Connecticut president Thomas Katsouleas issued a statement on Tuesday clarifying comments he had made to one of the school’s journalism classes regarding the possibility of no college football this year. Katsouleas was careful to point out that he’s merely speculating at this point. But it’s one thing for someone who isn’t the president of a university to offer such observations. It’s quite another for those views to come from someone who is.

Here’s the full statement, via Yahoo Sports: “Earlier today, speaking to a UConn journalism class, I was asked about the return of fall 2020 sports and how that may be managed in light of the pandemic. I began by saying that the questions surrounding fall sports are not going to be answered solely by presidents or athletic directors, but will largely be driven by the NCAA, and that in many ways the choices would be decided for us. I did however say that the current thinking is that it’s likely that fall sports will be canceled. This was not based on any inside knowledge or discussions on the subject, and was nothing more than speculation. No decisions have been made about fall sports and when they are made, we will look to the NCAA and our conference to take the lead on those choices. We will also, as always, be guided by the governor and state government. Our hope is that we will be able to play in the fall, as planned.”

Katsouleas’ tightrope routine balances his own views — which are relevant — against the fact that others will have a voice in these decisions. But the overriding reality for college football is that it will be very difficult to have college football without college.

If campuses are closed to students, how can they be open to student-athletes? That approach would lay bare the reality that student-athletes are more athlete than student, and that they are there to generate revenue and balance budgets. Although in one respect it’s no different than  the stewards of pro wrestling admitting that, as everyone already knew, the results are predetermined, in another respect tearing down that facade will set the stage, when the dust settles on the ongoing pandemic, for players to get paid.

That’s the balance that college football delicately will be trying to strike this year. If they push too hard to salvage the coming season, they may undermine all future seasons by opening the door to far more persuasive arguments that players should get something more than tuition, room, board, and snacks for their abilities, efforts, sacrifices, and risks . . . especially if those risks will expand from the risks inherent to playing football to risks associated with gathering in a group that could spread illness easily and rapidly, putting at risk (for example) any college football players who are overweight and potentially more susceptible to a negative outcome if infected by the coronavirus.

4 responses to “UConn president speculates that fall sports will be canceled

  1. What we are seeing in America is the next generational change. Big College which has over-charged students for decades, is now having to face the fact that students can and will learn online and there is no need for these institutions. I predict that students attending a brick and mortar university will be the minority in 20 years. There will be no need for college athletes and if there is even high school sports by then, players will leave high school and join the pros from there in some sort.

    Mark my word – big college is about to go the way of the horse and buggy.

  2. I wonder if NFL teams are already considering the possibility of the 2020 college football season being cancelled. If it is cancelled (or shortened or altered in some other way), the 2021 NFL Draft process will be strange and unusually risky for teams. The risks associated with projecting how successful a college athlete will be as a professional would be greater than normal. This all leads to me to wonder how the potential unknowns associated with the 2021 draft will impact the 2020 draft. Is it possible some GMs trade away future picks to grab players they’ve been able to scout in this year’s draft? Does a pick next year have less value than normal, considering the risk/unknown associated with it? Will be interesting to see how things play out! Go Bills!

  3. I think people are watching too much CNN. Some people don’t care if the world is shut down for 18 months and half the American workforce loses their jobs. The latest research is showing that this virus is not as contagious as what was once thought and the death rate is much lower. The shutdown was for the purpose of flattening the curve so hospitals can handle the number of patients they expected. Mission accomplished, in most places at least. The goal was never to keep the economy closed until there was no chance of anyone ever catching the virus. The idea that we would still be afraid to go outside in August is preposterous.

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