SALT LAKE CITY — It is the question that no one wants to ask, the possibility no one wants to consider: Could the 2020-21 college football season be canceled?
According to Stadium college football insider Brett McMurphy, there is a growing sentiment among the nation’s athletic directors that the season might not happen.
McMurphy recently polled 113 Division I athletic directors — he reached out to all 130 at the FBS level, 17 of whom did not respond to Stadium’s survey — and 20% believe there is a 50-50 chance the upcoming season will be canceled.
Of the ADs in the Power Five Conferences, which include the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, 66% believe there is at least a 25% chance the 2020-21 season does not happen.
“I’m optimistic we’ll have a season, but, ask me again in May what I think,” one Power Five AD told McMurphy.
In a @Stadium survey of all 130 FBS ADs, there’s a real concern a full CFB season won’t be played because of COVID-19. W/out CFB revenue, it could mean eliminating some Olympic sports. Said one AD: "If there’s no (football) season, we will be f*****” https://t.co/DNJW5d6ejh— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) April 1, 2020
The repercussions of a canceled season would be devastating, and not just for college football, writes McMurphy.
“Without the millions of dollars of revenue generated by college football programs (media rights, ticket sales, sponsorships, donations, etc.), some ADs fear there would be incredible consequences, including schools having to cut or eliminate Olympic/non-revenue sports.”
Group of Five programs would be the worst affected, according to the statements of multiple ADs, and a canceled season could see the end of many college football programs.
“There better be (a season) or many programs will be out of business,” an athletic director said.
While there are still six months until September, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has athletic directors wary, McMurphy added. And until life begins to return to pre-pandemic conditions, the notion of cancellation of the season will only continue to grow.