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Odds Heavily Favor Power 5 Conferences to Announce Postponement of 2020 College Football Season Before August 15th

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence throws the football
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is trying to help save the College Football season. Photo from @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter)
  • The 2020 College Football season could officially be cancelled or postponed this week due to COVID-19
  • Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the issue
  • There are now heavy -1000 odds that the Power 5 will postpone or cancel before August 15th

The chance of a college football season happening in fall 2020 is as slim as ever. The latest domino fell Saturday when the Mid-American Conference announced the postponement of fall sports. Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss possibly cancelling or postponing the 2020 season.

Led by Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State QB Justin Fields, the players are taking one final stand to try and save the season. Players took to social media late Sunday evening to tweet out “#WeStandUnited” and “#WeWantToPlay”.

Odds Power 5 Conferences Announce Postponement Before Aug. 15

Outcome Odds
Yes -1000
No +550

Odds as of August 9

Just over three weeks ago, there were only +120 odds that the CFB season would be postponed until Spring 2021. What’s changed?

Emergency Meeting Spells Bad News

Odds are heavily favoring Power Five conferences cancelling or postponing the season this week after an emergency meeting took place between Power Five commissioners on Sunday. According to ESPN, there is growing concern among college athletics officials that the fall football season can’t be played because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There was reportedly no official decisions made at the meeting, but a source told Sports Illustrated that “In the next 72 hours college football is going to come to a complete stop”.

The meeting follows news that the Big Ten is moving toward a decision to cancel the 2020 fall season. Presidents of Big Ten universities are reportedly ready to “pull the plug” on the fall sports season.

Key Players Opt Out 

There have already been 31 players from Power Five conferences who have chosen to opt out of the 2020 CFB season, including Purdue’s Rondale Moore, Penn State’s Micah Parsons and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman.

There is major safety concerns from the players when it comes to playing football during the pandemic. Over 1,000 Big Ten college football players published a letter on Wednesday to express concerns over the conference’s protocols regarding return to play.

SEC players have also expressed concern about returning to play after it was reported that during a call with conference officials, players were told that there would be outbreaks of COVID-19 on every single team in the SEC.

Players Fighting for Season 

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State QB Justin Fields are leading the charge among college football players to try and save the season. On Sunday night, both players were among several that tweeted out the hashtag “#WeWantToPlay” and called for a players association.

Despite already being close to a lock to be the top draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lawrence has been been one of the most vocal players in trying to save the season.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19”, Lawrence tweeted on Sunday.

The players talking about a union is unfortunately what could be the last domino. The NCAA has the leverage and are likely going to want to make an official announcement before this movement has a chance to really make a difference.

How Would a Season Look?

The big problem with college football is that these players are student-athletes that can’t be confined to a bubble. The NHL and NBA’s return-to-play plans are working because players are in a bubble environment where they don’t come in contact with anyone from the outside.

The MLB postponing numerous games in the first few weeks exemplifies the potential dangers for college football.

There have already been numerous COVID-19 outbreaks on college teams linked to non-football activities. There’s way too much risk involved in trusting a group of 19-23 year-olds to take the proper precautions and follow any potential rules put in place.

What’s the Best Bet? 

There’s some optimism for college football this fall with the players taking one final stand, but unfortunately it’s just too late. The heavy -1000 odds indicate that, while they may have not officially said it, oddsmakers believe university presidents and legal counsel have likely made the decision to postpone already.

The Big 10 appears likely to be the first conference to announce the decision, but they could convince the other conferences to make the announcement as a group this week.

There isn’t much value betting “Yes” in this prop, but I expect an official announcement to be made this week. There’s just too much uncertainty surrounding the virus, and with cases in the United States surpassing 5 million, a fall college football season just isn’t realistic.

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