With the depressing news regarding the 2020 Big Ten football season, we all have many questions. Correction — everyone has many questions because the Big Ten failed to provide any answers before making their decision. But here we are, as we try to answer a few of those questions that we have going forward.
Question No. 1: Well, what now?
I think it’s fair to question what the future holds over the next year for Penn State and the entire Big Ten. A spring season seems non-viable in my respective position and I would honestly be shocked if it were to happen. So between now and next year’s first scheduled game against Wisconsin, what does Penn State do in the 387 days in the meantime? What will they be able to do as a program? Is they do in fact try for a spring season, will there be a “fall/winter” camp that begins in December or January? If there’s no spring season, will they have the opportunity for more, or any, spring practices? We can go on and on about what the future holds over the next year plus for the program.
2. How will the 2021 conference schedule work?
I’m intrigued by what happens with the conference schedule for next season. Will the Big Ten completely scrap the 2020 schedule or will it carry over into 2021? If not, Penn State would have to face Ohio State next year in Columbus which would be the second straight time. Obviously this impacts every program in the Big Ten but I think this is going to be an interesting discussion point going forward.
3. How will eligibility work going forward?
This is the most important question in my opinion. It seems reasonable that all athletes will receive an additional year of eligibility if their season is cancelled. But how does that affect the 85 scholarship limit? With most schools bringing in 20+ recruits in any given recruiting cycle and the likelihood of players possibly deciding to return for one more season there will be multiple programs if not most that are over they 85 scholarship limit. Will the NCAA raise the scholarship limit? Will that be a permanent move? How does it impact the other conferences if they play football? Ugh, this one just gets more and more complicated the longer you think about it. However it plays out, the decision and the aftermath will produce plenty of headaches.
3B. What about fifth year guys?
Also, how does it affect fifth-year guys who needed more tape for the NFL? Will they receive an extra year? Will they choose to use their extra year or they could always....
4. Transfer - Will we see players leave the program?
Those fifth-year players could decide to transfer if other conferences play (if the NCAA allows immediate eligibility). Could we see Shake Toney, Michal Menet, Journey Brown, etc. all be wearing different jerseys this fall? What about outside of the fifth-year players will Penn State see any players transfer in order to potentially play this season?
All in all, this just scratches the surface of the questions we all have regarding next season. There are tons of questions that are unanswered and knowing the conference will go unanswered for a long time. I guess you could use Kevin Warren’s favorite word from Tuesday — ““uncertainty.” There’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the future and part of that is the Big Ten’s fault. I don’t blame them for cancelling the season but you had months to think about these potential issues and failed to find a way to even begin to answer them. But for now, all we can do is wait and see..... only 387 days till Penn State football...