Eligibility Waiver Creates Logjam
Han Vance on college football: The NCAA has waived this year as it regards to class-statuses for individual players, completely. While there will be an American college football season in summer/fall 2020, thankfully. With the Big Ten and Pac-12 (of the biggest sub-section “Power 5” conferences), and the MAC and Mt. West (of the “Group of 5” lesser power football conferences) quickly cancelling FBS (“football bowl series”) football seasons for the fall school terms, the impotent in true governance NCAA was left with a total mess.
College football – which has just entered into its 151st season – was the most messy and utterly ungovernable sport in the world already, outside of perhaps professional boxing. Throw in the COVID-related and in many ways warranted hysteria, and we are left with much more visible unevenness, where some conferences shall play seemingly at almost any cost and some say they won’t play out of an abundance of caution and take the high road…it’s a bigger mess than the old BCS.
For those who have read me for a while, when I get on my wonkier analyst tirades talking about the sport itself, you know I like to point out that college football is the only sport in the world where a plethora of undefeated teams would have no shot whatsoever at winning a title, none. It’s the only sport that fails to pluralize the word “playoffs” – holding in relatively recent evolution a four-team playoff for five power leagues. And, all but eliminating at season’s start any team not in the Power 5 when toes meet leather. It’s a sham, as it stands, the CFP. The legit future will hold an eight-team playoffs. I promise.
I truly love college football, where a figurehead named Mark Emmert sits atop our beloved old sport as NCAA president. But, he has remarkably little authority to enact much action. For example, he can’t tell the conferences they have to play or can’t play. The NCAA does not even govern the CFP (College Football Playoff) event itself. Crazy as it may sound, the NCAA itself literally can’t cancel the CFP. Potentially problematic in pure political correctness in the age of so-called cancel culture, I’ll go ahead and still use this example here: One way to begin to comprehend it is to think of the divisive issues of states’ rights around the time of the Civil War. In this case, though, the states do hold ALL the power, the money conferences.
Thusly, excellent SEC head honcho Greg Sankey being called the most powerful man in sports, is not quite as farfetched as it seems.
Think on this, now: the eligibility statuses of football players, already a confusing subject for non-wonks, does not factor in the 2020 season at all. You can, as example, play college football for five full years, if one of them falls in 2020. This has myriad real ramifications for individuals, who may have chosen a school knowing the guy ahead of them had, say, only one year of eligibility. Now, it could be two. Jake Fromm, for you Georgia fans, could have started for the Dawgs in 2020 and 2021. I’m betting he would have won a national title in that stretch, instead of bouncing to a cold bench in Buffalo.
I know y’all heard enough QB depth chart stuff, today and last night, all day yesterday. I was probably the earliest on it, if you glance to my recent articles on the (possible) quarterback quandary and deeper analysis of Jamie Newman’s weaknesses. Perhaps he read that and bolted, because my assumption is it was about more than the global pandemic. Maybe Justin Fields, who trained with Newman all offseason and was in Athens watching a football scrimmage, unrecommended Coach Smart.
Stud true frosh Carson Beck could essentially be a true freshman in terms of his eligibility while playing the next two years, without a redshirt season. There is less opportunity for Beck eligibility class-wise when lumped longer with an NFL-bound, probably at some point, J.T. Daniels, the presumed starter now who has not yet been cleared for contact as of yesterday’s practice. He could be in Athens a long time. Beck and 2021 five-star recruit Brock Vandagriff are now in the same eligibility class. A healthy, tall D’Wan Mathis has five full more years to really play, now, not just four. Stetson Bennett IV, the Mailman, may be a UGA doctor teaching at our ol’ school (1785) before he matriculates out of Georgia football. Lots of implications, and that’s just at one school at one position alone.
Quarterback carousels shall surely spin.
~ Check out my homegirl’s podcast – Tara Shah, she’s the San Diego Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association’s amazing leader – “33N83W” – wherever you get your podcasts, to hear some alumnus/alumnae banter on much more than just football. UGA people do big things! Fellow Marietta-native Tara is a good buddy of mine I first met when I attended a viewing party in SD which I covered for Bulldawg Illustrated, and she and I met up later that season at the Rose Bowl, where I sat 2nd row. I’m going to be helping her get the word out, because her show is so good. Never Bark Alone, we still like to say.