Mayhem has ensued in the world of college sports since July 1, 2021, when college athletes could first benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) based on an interim policy passed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Chaos emerged after a number of states adopted policies regarding athlete’s name, image, and likeness. This forced the NCAA to pass a policy allowing such deals across the board, while stating in their release that the organization would continue to work with Congress to create a solution on the national level. However, two years later, no such solution has come to fruition, and in that time, states that have a large investment in the success of their college sports have been able to create or edit their legislation to benefit the performance of their teams.
On September 16, The Big Ten conference announced the reversal of the decision to postpone fall sports and will resume football the week of Oct. 23rd. On that same day, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced elementary and high school football teams will still not return for the fall. With football being a contact sport, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is very high. There are hopes for Illinois high school football to return in the spring but as of now, there are not enough resources to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and local authorities’ guidelines.
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, sports leagues are tasked with implementing safety measures in an urgent and effective manner. Despite the rush for normalcy amid trying times, mitigating further spread and risks associated with the ongoing pandemic are at the forefront of these efforts. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is among the first organizations attempting to resume operations while facing significant health and safety considerations.
Fall of 2020, like most of 2020, is looking different for everyone. While some schools are resuming in-person classes, other schools have chosen to resume online classes; while some people are returning to offices, other businesses have announced that employees will continue to work from home until at least July of 2021. The uniformity of our daily lives is gone, and that it is exactly what is happening with the different college football conferences for Fall 2020. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association “NCAA” having no control over college football, it was up to the Power Five Conferences to independently decide what each conference’s season would look like this fall.