Some college football conferences announced plans to start playing in September. But some of the game’s best prospects declared they were opting out due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And for what it’s worth, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence considered following suit. But ultimately, decided not to do so.
“Yeah, I think everyone’s thought about it just with everything going on,” Lawrence said, via Todd Shanesy of the Greenville News. “But since I made the decision to play, I haven’t thought about it again. That’s my decision. I’m committed.”
Lawrence has since sent out this tweet:
I don’t know about y’all, but we want to play.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 8, 2020
Lawrence opting in isn’t surprising. Lawrence is already one of the game’s most decorated players just two years into his collegiate career. ACC championship? He’s got two of those. All-conference honors? Been there, done that. A national championship? Appearances in each of his first two seasons, including a title-winning run as a true freshman. Entering his junior season, Lawrence was a presumptive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Additionally, he looked primed to lead a Clemson squad with national championship aspirations. Moreover, Lawrence is the projected top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lawrence said he wanted to hear the NCAA’s plans to keep players healthy and safe this season. And whatever Lawrence has heard has led him to commit to playing ball in 2020. However, the season is up in the air.
After the MAC became the first FBS conference to cancel fall sports (including football), a pair of athletic directors of Power 5 schools told Dennis Dobbs of CBS Sports that a cancelation of the 2020 football season was “unavoidable.” If it goes that far, then it would follow a growing trend. We have already seen Division II and III cancel the fall sports calendar. Some conferences in the FCS have moved football to spring. And we have also seen individual schools (such as Morehouse and UConn) commit to not playing football in 2020. The Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, and SEC have tentative schedules for the 2020 season. Unfortunately, those could be useless if the season is canceled (or postponed).
Perhaps playing in the spring is the best course of action. I don’t imagine college football fans (or even NFL scouts) like the idea of kicking the can down the road. But buying time for communities to figure out what it would take to play through a pandemic is sensible. And if that’s how the cookie crumbles, I can’t help but ask if Lawrence’s decision will stand. I suppose only time will tell.