College Football Season Already Facing 4th-and-Long Due to Pandemic

Recruiting for the class of 2021 is on indefinite hiatus due to NCAA restrictions

College Football Season Already Facing 4th-and-Long
Travis Etienne of the Clemson Tigers looses his helmet. (Alika Jenner/Getty)
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By Evan Bleier / April 3, 2020 11:52 am

Though kickoff of the college football season is almost half a year away, the NCAA shutting down sports for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year due to the pandemic has already dealt the sport a major blow. 

Even though they don’t play games during the spring, most college football programs hold practices and intra-squad workouts. Now, with these activities on indefinite hiatus, coaches have no new information to help them evaluate their depth charts.

For freshmen who have enrolled early, the opportunity to get familiarized with the playbook long before the season begins has been lost. Those issues could lead the NCAA to push back the start or harm the quality of play in the 2020 season — and the 2021 season could be impacted as well.

Due to NCAA-imposed sanctions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, coaches who are paid to bolster their programs have been unable to do it this spring. Thanks to those restrictions — which the NCAA just extended until May 31 — recruiting for the class of 2021 is on indefinite hiatus, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

For teams that have already met with recruits, that isn’t as big of a problem. But for schools that waited to conduct visits, they are behind the eight ball. Colleges that have new coaches in place, like Mississippi State and Mike Leach, are also at risk of falling behind.

“I think kids, they’re young, they’re impressionable, they’re not always the most patient. At some point in time they may just get sick of waiting and defer to what they’ve already seen and what they already know,” Dave Emerick, Mississippi State’s senior associate athletic director for football, told The Journal. “It’s probably happening a little bit already.”

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