Yesterday, two Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, announced that they would be postponing their football seasons until Spring 2021. But as SoonerScoop.com was first to report (via Twitter), presidents of schools in the Big 12 will allow the conference to move forward with a fall season, and a conference scheduled has been released (Twitter link).
Field Yates of ESPN.com observes that, in addition to the Big 12, the ACC and SEC are still planning to play in 2020 (Twitter link). Of course, the situation remains fluid, but for now, 60% of the Power 5 conferences are trying to forge ahead with something akin to a normal season.
Even if that happens, the NFL will still have a major decision to make with respect to the 2021 draft. If collegiate games are not played until the spring, the season may not be completed prior to the draft as currently scheduled. The NFL has the right to unilaterally push the draft back to July 2, but any further delay would require another NFL-NFLPA bargaining session.
Another factor to consider in all of this is the likelihood of additional opt-outs. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that several top collegiate players have lined up agents and are preparing to opt out of the next college season, whenever it’s played (video link). A few high-end players have already made that decision, and it stands to reason that more and more players will end up doing the same in an effort to maximize their professional prospects.
RapSheet adds that the NFL understandably wants to do everything it can to accommodate college football, which includes a modification of the offseason schedule.