I can guess what you’re thinking with today’s NCAA “announcement” … that there was no announcement of a potential 2020 FCS postseason decision. You’re thinking, as one witty Twitter poster said this morning:
“This has to be one of the longest kicked cans down the road of all time.”
It certainly feels like that.
So we emerge today knowing exactly what we knew yesterday (and last week, and the week before that) about the potential of an FCS postseason: We know absolutely nothing. Whether you support the idea of having a postseason or not, you have to admit that it’s time to make a call on this. Now the NCAA’s Board of Governors is leaving the choice up to each level, so the FCS as a collective can make up it’s own mind.
No matter which way the FCS goes with this, there will be howling. That’s the only certainty right now. There will be vitriol from both sides of the argument, and there will be Monday morning quarterbacking later on when we know how this fall panned out. It fits today’s political narrative, doesn’t it? Why would the FCS decision be any different?
That’s the time we live in. We’ve let this blasted 2020 election’s negative energy creep into everything we do, think and feel. (And no, I won’t be voting for the incumbent who went to Fordham and Penn or the highly publicized challenger who attended Delaware.)
CONF. BY CONF UPDATE: Which FCS Conference has cancelled, which teams are staying on as independents?
By now, most of the schools/conferences in the FCS have spoken individually – mostly through their actions. Some said they’ll wait things out and play it safe, keeping the powder dry until Spring 2021 (or not play at all). Others feel like they’re in a part of the country that won’t have the same issues as the larger metropolitan areas, and they’re willing to give this a go.
Some have decided they can financially afford to protect their student-athletes with the high-level protocol necessary. Some have admitted they don’t know that they can, and they’re not going to take a gamble. Others already have individual players stepping away by choice, and some have been quite outspoken while stepping away (see Eastern Kentucky kicker Landon White).
When it comes to this final FCS postseason decision, I don’t know about you, but I applaud individual institutions – whether it be a school or a conference – for doing what they feel is best for their campuses and their students. Can we please just trust that?
And I also applaud the students who have spoken up and felt that maybe they aren’t safe, and maybe they don’t like what they’re seeing when it comes to protocol. It’s their life, their choice, and they should do what’s best for them. They’re adults, it’s their right to sit it out, play, or transfer to a place where they can play without the lip service from any direction. Let’s quit trying to be their parents here, as if they can’t fend for themselves.
I’ve been asked dozens of times what I think, personally, and the above is what I think. I just don’t personally believe in “blanket decisions”. There’s too much “square peg with a round hole” in the FCS to do that. I guess that might be a positive that came from today’s “decision” (cough cough), even though I think the NCAA backed into the decision in the 11th hour and could have been more proactive with this weeks ago.
Look, the FCS isn’t the cash cow that Power Five Conference football is. We’ve always touted it as the “purer form” of Division I football. It doesn’t have the lucrative television contracts and crushing financial pressures we see with the P5s. In fact, many of these schools fight to break even financially even in years that aren’t overwhelmed by an evil death spawn from Hades.
When a decision is made at this level, it is usually just an honest decision, I would contend — certainly with a few exceptions. Some schools and conferences have been playing wait-and-see to see what other levels might do. Today obviously wasn’t much different.
So once again, we wait.