What Rise In Coronavirus Cases Means For Football And 2021 NFL Draft

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Amid the uncertainty of what the Coronavirus holds, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a closer look at football. The 2021 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 29th in Cleveland, Ohio. As it stands, cases of the virus are rising across the United States. Should the situation get worse, what happens to student athletes that are eligible for the 2021 NFL Draft?

Rise In Cases Amongst Student Athletes

The NCAA has begun allowing student athletes to return to school to begin voluntary workouts. As a result, players at several prominent schools around the country have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Should a person test positive for the Coronavirus, they must complete a 10-day isolation before returning to the football program. At Clemson, where nearly a one-third of the roster have tested positive, 23 have completed the required isolation.

What This Means For The College Football Season

As it stands, there has been no announcements concerning the cancellation of the 2020 College Football season. Considering that the FBS season is scheduled to begin on August 29th, the NCAA is fortunate to have time on their side. Should the NCAA have to postpone/cancel the 2020 season, they won’t ave to do so for several months.

Potential Options For Student Athletes

Should there be some sort of a postponement or cancellation of the 2020 College Football season, what would happen to student athletes? Below, we’ll take a look at what options they could potentially have on the table.

-Extra Year of Eligibility

Considering that the NCAA opted to grant spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility, this could certainly be on the table as an option should the situation get worse. If the NCAA does indeed to go this route, I don’t think it would be a very popular one for football players. This could also potentially blow open the transfer portal as student athletes search for starting positions. Should the Coronavirus continue to run rampant through college football, I don’t envision athletes accepting an extra year of eligibility.

-Supplemental Draft

This option is likely the least likely to occur. As Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported, the 2020 Supplemental Draft won’t be “significantly altered” by the Coronavirus. Nonetheless, a player could look to challenge this if a university is forced to cancel their college football season.

-Opt To Sit Out For Season

The most likely outcome of this situation is that student athletes opt to sit out for the 2020 College Football season. We recently saw this when Nick Bosa chose to sit out the 2018 College Football season following an injury against TCU. Should an athlete determine the situation at their school isn’t safe, sitting out to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft seems like the most viable option.

Time Will Tell On The Impact of Coronavirus in College Football

Bottom Line – It’s too early to determine the effect that Coronavirus has on football. Much more, what effect the virus will have on the 2021 NFL Draft and the future of College Football.

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