The Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed fall sports, with hopes of playing college football in the spring. The SEC, ACC and Big 12, meanwhile, plan to move forward with a fall season – at least as of now.
How worried should the Big Ten be if the SEC and other major conferences play a fall season?
“I think human nature says that you would be worried because of what the optics look like,” Big Ten Network analyst Howard Griffith said on The DA Show. “But at the end of the day, if you trusted the medical people and the organizations that were helping you and guiding you through this, that’s where you have to lean in. But this is what today is really all about. Those other conferences are pushing forward, they’re saying they’re pushing forward, their medical staffs and advisors are telling them they can push forward – and the Big Ten and the Pac-12 said, ‘No, we can’t do it.’ The MAC has said, ‘No, we can’t do it.’
“So there is going to be some second-guessing that takes place,” Griffith continued. “But I think at the end of the day you still have to go out and trust the people that you put in place and you chose to lead you through this process to see what’s going to happen. We don’t know. But it would be devastating for Big Ten fans and student-athletes to see other conferences that are able to play. If they’re able to play and they’re playing safe, it’s going to have a huge effect.”
Unfortunately, a spring season might not be feasible, as many student-athletes with NFL dreams might opt out. It would also be difficult for athletes to play two seasons in one year.
If the 2020 season is lost, how would that impact athletic departments and universities like Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin?
“Our traditional bluebloods are going to weather the storm, [there’s] no doubt about it,” Griffith said. “But it’s still going to be difficult. You’re still talking about $90-100 million [or more]. It’s going to be devastating for athletic departments, for universities, for communities. You look at a place like Penn State where, on any given Saturday, that place is rocking. There’s not a hotel room for 50 miles, the restaurants are packed, all the people that are working in those industries – it is going to be devastating.
“And it’s not going to be something that is just going to repair itself or bounce back in one year,” Griffith continued. “This is going to, I believe, have some very devastating effects for athletic departments, for personnel that they’re going to be able to keep, the way they’ve been operating – it’s going to be huge. This is going to affect everything. It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten to this point, but now we have to start dealing with the reality. [For] the Big Ten and the Pac-12, that reality started [Tuesday]. It’s going to be difficult, but ultimately, I think you have to try to do what’s best for the students.”