Earlier today I published an article summarizing this week’s news with this conclusion: college football’s biggest hurdle in returning to action for an on-time season is justifying to a skeptical public why it is safe and necessary to put unpaid students on a football field in a pandemic.
The NFL faces no such issue.
A large part of that equation is that its players are professionals who collectively bargain their work conditions with ownership.
But an equally large, often unspoken is the brand, culture and expectations around what it means to be the National Football League. There’s $16 billion at stake, of course they’ll exhaust all avenues to play. After all, it’s the NFL.
If any entity in college football operates under a similar assumption, it’s the SEC. And if the ultimate question boils down to whether the sport’s leaders can justify playing to the public, well, the equation might be the opposite in SEC country.
SEC leaders could be faced with a near-future problem of explaining to an irate public why they’re not playing.
It’s with that understanding that we present this quote from LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, given to WWL Radio on Wednesday (via The Advocate).
“We have the full staff in here,” Orgeron said. “We’re planning football school. We’ve made our practice schedule for August. We’re putting in all of our scripts. We’re doing all of our cards. We’re going on as usual, we’re playing. Whatever happens, we’ve been told that in all likelihood we’re playing. If that changes, that’s out of our control.”
Obviously, the ultimate decision won’t come down to Orgeron, or LSU AD Scott Woodward. It’ll be a university decision, a conference decision, a state government decision. But rest assured, if anyone in college football is going to chug right along until the very moment they’ve been told they can’t chug anymore, it’s the SEC.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.