The Big 10 conference announced Tuesday that it would be cancelling all fall sports. The cancellation is a huge blow to colleges as the COVID-19 virus continues to impact sports, schools and businesses alike. Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg joins The Final Round panel to break down what this means for college and professional sports going forward.
MYLES UDLAND: All right, welcome back to "The Final Round" here on Yahoo Finance. Myles Udland with you in New York. Well, a story we've been following over the last couple of weeks, really the last couple of days as well, is everything going on in the world of college football. The dominoes have certainly started to fall.
Just within the last half hour, the Big Ten announcing that it will postpone its fall 2020 football season, I guess plans to play in the spring. Joining us now to talk about everything we do and don't know right now in the world of college football is Nick Bromberg, a reporter here at Yahoo Sports. Nick, thanks for joining the program.
So let's just start with the news from the Big Ten. Expected. It was reported a couple places yesterday. Then there were some denials. Then today, what we knew was coming, did eventually come with that season getting postponed.
NICK BROMBERG: Yeah. And I think we're now looking to the fact of which other Power Five conference does it next. And I think a lot of people expect that the Pac-12 will follow in the Big Ten's footsteps.
The Big Ten was the first Power Five conference of the major five conferences to make this announcement that they're going to spring. But it was also preceded by the Mid-American Conference, which is in the Big Ten's footprint in the Midwest, Mideast region. And then also, the Mountain West. Yesterday they announced that they were gonna push to spring. So we are down right now-- as of this moment, 89 of 130 FBS teams are still set to play this fall.
DAN ROBERTS: Nick, Dan Roberts here. I'm glad you mentioned the MAC, because it seems like the MAC was sort of actually the first domino to fall. Obviously not a Power Five conference. But what this all reminds us of-- and I think it's something a lot of people don't realize even if they watch college football-- is just how separately all the conferences operate. There's really no equivalent of a-- of a commissioner of college football.
A lot of people during this time are-- are using all of this to say there should be some kind of czar. And then some people think, well, isn't that the NCAA? But the NCAA really doesn't serve that function.
What are the chances that even after the Big Ten's action, and if Pac-12 follows, that the other three or two of the Power Five conferences could plow ahead and have football? That sounds like it would be such a mess. But maybe that's what we could see happen?
NICK BROMBERG: You know, I think right now you could say 50-50 with the caveat that things change day by day. And the big thing the SEC and the ACC-- and the Big 12 hasn't even announced a schedule yet. But the SEC has pushed games to September 26, because they want to see what coronavirus trends at those 14 campuses look like once students get back on campus.
But you're right. The MAC was the first one that kind of got the ball rolling here. And it's also very important to know that the NCAA, it's just a consortium of schools. So schools all join together and make their own rules. The College Football Playoff is not even run by the NCAA. It's run by representatives from each of the power-- of the conferences at the FBS level.
So there is not like the NHL, or the NBA, or the NFL where you can point to Roger Goodell and say, you know, he's the guy who's ultimately making decision here. It was basically every conference and almost any school-- if you were independent school-- any school for themselves at this moment.
- Nick, we're talking about just the conferences and the players right now. But of course, politics has kind of injected itself into this debate as well in that whole We Want To Play movement. I mean, how much of that pressure do you think is-- is real? You know, we've seen the president jump on it. Is this kind of evolving into the kind of school debate that we've seen? And certain conferences, are they gonna be able to resist that pressure from the White House?
NICK BROMBERG: It unfortunately has become political. And I think they will be to a certain point. But it was fascinating yesterday to watch President Trump and Mike Pence kind of adopt that We Want To Play hashtag that started late Sunday night.
And, you know, on a side note, that was advocating for a players association/union, which is a whole different conversation altogether. But I view it as, you know, you look at the president where-- this sign right now that the Big Ten-- even if it's just the Big Ten that's not playing football, it's a sign that life is not normal in the United States in the fall of 2020, a very important political fall of 2020. So to have college football and for President Trump to push for college football, I about felt like one of those pushes for normalcy to know that, hey, we are back on the right track, and things are going as normal.
DAN ROBERTS: Nick, if the season is pushed to spring-- and of course, a side note I keep thinking is well, why does everyone assume things will be better in the spring? But we're talking here not about totally canceling the season. We're talking about Big Ten moving it to the spring.
But what does that mean for the timeline, because you're pushing it up so close to the NFL? I mean, guys like Trevor Lawrence-- I think an initial concern, if you don't play in the fall, was that you'd have stars, who only are planning to play one more season of college, just not play in the spring. Because are they really gonna play in the spring and then immediately go to NFL draft and NFL training camps?
NICK BROMBERG: Yeah. We are absolutely looking at a chaos theory here over the next six months, because Justin Fields, potential number two pick in the draft, the Ohio State quarterback behind Trevor Lawrence, he was committed to playing if the Big Ten played this fall. He had not opted out.
Does he play in the spring if there is a season? That's the huge caveat here. And we saw guys like Penn State linebacker Mike Parsons, Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, they had opted out to prepare for the NFL draft had the season been in the fall. They're not gonna come back and play in the spring.
And you're gonna, I think, look at-- the NFL had previously said there'd been rumblings. You know, we're not gonna adjust our fall-- or spring 2021 schedule. But I think NFL teams across the country would be gladly want to push the draft and the scouting combine back if there is college football in the spring, because that is a prime scouting opportunity.
MYLES UDLAND: And then, Nick, it's kind of the-- like, the follow-up question to all this, and it's sort of the unanswerable one, right? I don't think a university president knows the answer, but I'll ask you anyway, which is, like, does this sort of reset and change the entire college sports landscape permanently? Because this is-- this is affecting athletic department budgets now, the next 5 years, the next 10 years.
It's upsetting recruiting cycles, your IMG Academy-type situations. Like, it kind of changes everything we've assumed was all in place forever. And is this the beginning of, like, just a new era for how we conceive of non-professional athletics in the US?
NICK BROMBERG: I think it is very safe to say that this is laying the groundwork for NCAA change. How significant that change is remains to be seen. But you're looking at schools like Nebraska and Wisconsin. They have already said, you know, we're currently looking at $100-million budget-- projected budget shortfalls without football.
You have an Athlete Rights Empowerment movement that has just gained more and more steam, especially, you know, over the last week, not even counting the months and years previous to this. And you also have an NCAA that's starting in 2020 and 2021-- they have not finalized the details, but they are committed to allowing athletes to make money off of their own name, and image, and likeness in the form of sponsorships and endorsements. There's already a lot of changes coming. But I do think that this has the potential to completely shake up the NCAA as we know it.
MYLES UDLAND: All right. Nick Bromberg with Yahoo Sports. For all the latest on the college football season as we know it right now, Nick, thanks so much for joining the show today.