College Football Will Never Implement A Bubble Despite NBA, MLS, NHL Bubble Success

Aug 5, 2020, 3:15 PM
Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers talks with Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers after their 42...
Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers talks with Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers after their 42-25 win over Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – College football could immediately fix their upcoming 2020 season concerns by initiating a ‘bubble’ similar to the likes of the NBA, MLS and NHL, however, there is just one issue – amateurism.

The likes of the NBA, NHL and MLS all successfully initiated a bubble and eliminated COVID-19 from disrupting their league’s schedules. The NBA, for example, has not had a positive COVID-19 test since July 13 when it announced that 2 of 322 players had tested positive from the first batch of testing. Since then, nothing.

The ‘bubble’ works. There is no debate.

College football would thrive under a ‘bubble’ like atmosphere and it would not be that difficult to implement. The Pac-12, for example, could easily take every program to a venue and house every program in their own housing units. The coaches would continue to coach and the student-athletes would all take online classes while preparing for their upcoming games. Online classes, by the way, seem to be the safest option available and for college football to have a season with or without a bubble it would make sense for the players to all participate in online classes only.

Unfortunately, the ‘bubble’ is not an option for college football.

Dollar Signs

The NCAA deems the players as students before they consider them football players. Implementing a ‘bubble’ would detract from the narrative in which the NCAA is trying to perceive.

The problem is, however, that the NCAA relies on college football to produce a product to make a profit. Without college football, the NCAA would not be the billion-dollar industry that it is.

So are they football players studying, or students who play football? It seems rather obvious that after the decisions made by athletic directors and conference commissioners across the country as of late that these so-called ‘student-athletes’ are a little more than they are made out to be.

Title IX

Title IX also prohibits the thought of college football entering a ‘bubble’. Title IX states “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

A ‘bubble’ would give college football the best chance of succeeding in 2020, but you cannot assure college football happens without putting the same emphasis on other NCAA sports such as women’s soccer, gymnastics, swim and diving etc.

It is a predicament that the NCAA must deal with, but one that they have set them up for.

Ticking Time Bomb

For now, college football players remain as amateurs, but how much longer will that be the case? It feels as though it is only a matter of time until the players take a stand and demand adequate action to be taken to further progress the game of college football.

In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that conference only schedules (the closest thing to a ‘bubble’ that the NCAA can muster) works and college football survives the grim, dark fall of 2020 that awaits.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.


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