Washington football’s 2020 season has officially been postponed by the Pac-12, so what’s next?
It’s a Washington football fan’s worst nightmare. Not only as the 2020 football season been (hopefully) pushed to the spring, but the Pac-12 has also canceled all basketball games that were scheduled to take place in 2020. This comes on the heels of the Big 10 Conference, who postponed their football season just a few hours earlier.
At the time this article is being published, the Big 12, ACC, and SEC are still planning to proceed with a conference only schedule. This is all subject to change over the next month.
Obviously, this is all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the safe move for the conference and in the case of the Pac-12 specifically, this is relatively unsurprising. The Pac-12 harbors three of the world’s top medical universities in Stanford, UCLA, and Washington.
Recently, a condition called Myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, has been found in multiple athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19. This rare condition has become more frequent in patients that have contracted the coronavirus. If left untreated and undiagnosed, it can cause heart damage, cardiac arrest, and is potentially fatal.
There are a lot of moving parts here, and a lot of blame to go around, but the majority of it should fall on Mark Emmert and the NCAA. Without football, schools are going to lose millions of dollars. While that’s a gigantic issue that athletic departments and boosters will have to try and find a way to manage, the bigger issue is that the NCAA practically allowed this to happen. When cases began to rise again in July, it was very obvious that this virus is not going away anytime soon. At that point, the NCAA should have begun discussions as to how they could safely proceed with the season.
“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans. Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.” -Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon President
Now, they have a much bigger issue on their hands. Will players who opt out of the season be granted an extra year of eligibility? How will the NFL Draft proceed? If players decide to transfer schools to play (assuming the other conferences proceed), will they be granted immediate eligibility? Will there actually be a spring season? It’ll be very tough on the players to play two full seasons within 12 months.
How does this affect the Huskies?
There are quite a few elite players that could opt out for the NFL Draft. Most notably, Levi Onwuzurike, Elijah Molden, Cade Otton, and Jaxson Kirkland. Sadly, we might’ve seen the last of them in Husky jerseys. On the bright side, if they decide to return to school and are granted an extra year of eligibility, the Huskies should be considered favorites in the Pac-12.
This would also give the 2020 class more time to get physically ready for the season, whether it be in the spring of 2021 or fully canceled. Myles Murao, Sav’ell Smalls, Jalen McMillan, and the rest of the highly touted class will be more prepared to contribute right away.
Fans shouldn’t be worried about having anyone getting poached from the program. While Washington has gone toe to toe with some of the national powers for some of their top recruits, they’ll most likely stay with the program. Schools will come calling, but the Alabamas and LSUs of the world already have their starters, and it would be in the players’ best interest to stick with Washington. Not only are they receiving a world-class education, but the Husky coaching staff is one of the best in the country when it comes to developing NFL talent. It’ll come down to making a choice between starting at a mid-tier Big 12, ACC, or SEC school, or simply spending more time working out and developing with the Husky staff.