You’ve had to have been living under a rock to not hear the news that the Pac-12 cancelled its fall sports season. Same with the Big Ten. Same with the Mountain West and the MAC.
You’d have to almost deliberately not be paying attention to have heard that the college football season has been drastically altered by the Pac-12, Big Ten, MWC and MAC’s decisions to ‘postpone’ but more likely cancel the football season.
And as such, other coaches from around the country, those in conferences that are still planning on playing their new, revised seasons, have been asked for their thoughts on the Pac-12 and Big Ten’s decisions to not play in 2020.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz talked extensively about a bubble, among other things. He speaks from experience, however, as most of his team hails from south Florida, or has been in south Florida for some time, where the coronavirus cases ran rampant.
“You’ve heard the term bubble — the NBA is in its bubble, the NHL is in a bubble, MLS — we all have a bubble ... the bubble is whoever you let within six feet of you without a mask on, that’s your bubble,” Diaz said on the ACC Network. “Every individual has a bubble and that’s a choice. We have told our players that they have to respect their bubble because anyone they bring into their bubble, they’re bringing into our bubble.
“Everybody talks about the student-body coming back, look, our guys have been here since June 15 and we are in Miami, there are 18 to 22 year olds hanging out in Miami when UM is not in session. So they have made good decisions, but the issue and what we keep telling them is, you saw the movement this week from players ... it’s not about we want to play. It’s nice to want to play. We all want things. It’s about doing the things necessary that we can play. And to me, that is all we have.
“We haven’t decided that we’re playing in (the ACC), we have decided that we still have the right to try and do the things we need to do so that we can play. And that is in our control. The virus is a formidable enemy, but there are things we can do to help control it.”
“We’ve been in Dade County ... this summer you’re talking about a 20 percent positivity rate and that trend has come down in the past 14 days. I’m very proud of our guys in terms of our testing numbers.”
And Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell even went as far as to thank the ACC for their work to keep the season intact.
“It’s disappointing for any student-athlete when the opportunity to play and all that they’ve worked for, when it’s taken away. At the end of the day the choice goes to the leadership administrations of those conferences, and for whatever reasons that they felt they wanted to do that. I’m very grateful for our administration and the ACC, the in-depth research that they’re doing to make sure that we have all the information before a final decision is made. We have everything in place, and we’ll continue to prepare. I absolutely trust the leadership and the protocols that are within our university for our football team. We all feel very comfortable with it. We’re trying to do our part in keeping these players safe and allowing them to go out and play the game that they love.”
Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield was a leading voice in the ACC’s public decisions to go forward with a season in 2020.
“What we understand is the ACC is moving forward,” Satterfield said. “So, that’s where we are now. We know how things change and how fluid it is. We’d like to get something definitive, just for our mental sake.”
“Everybody kind of pushed the season back a little bit and we’re starting practices and students are going to start coming on campuses in the next weeks and some have already started that this past weekend. I’m sure across the country students are stating that same transition of moving on campus. I thought that’s what we were doing. Some of the leadership in some of these leagues, to me, are lacking in the fact that when we set a plan and said this is what we’re moving forward with, let’s stick to it, until we don’t need to stick to it anymore. That’s the frustrating part.
“We’re playing with these 18-22 year olds’ minds by some of these leagues doing these things, this yo-yo, saying we’re going to do one thing one day and two days later tell them we’re going to do this right here. That’s not leadership. We had months to plan out how we’re going to come back, how we’re going to do this, and we’ve been doing it. Our kids have been doing it here, at a very high standard, and that’s why we’ve been successful in our program.”
It seems like the initial fears that the other conferences would use this as ‘recruiting ammo’ over sought-after recruits could have already been started. With Norvell stating his confidence in the ACC leadership and each of the other two coaches praising their staff and campuses, it seems like it’s already began.
Here’s hoping the ACC, SEC and Big 12 don’t poach away the top talent on the west coast because of this.