Power 5 conferences set precedents for other schools amid the pandemic

As schools begin to return to campus for their respected fall semesters, all eyes are on Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten, South Eastern Conference (SEC), Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC), Big 12 and the Pac 10 as to what they going to do and potentially set as a precedent for smaller conferences.

The Power 5 consist of the largest conferences and the biggest schools which set a precedent that most conferences follow. However, many questions are looming and the divide of the 5 does not help matters.

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 and Big Ten announced that they have postponed all fall athletics while the ACC and SEC stand strong in their desire to play on in the fall. The Big-12 stands almost as a swing conference looking to see what the other two do.

Student-athletes have taken to social media using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay, protesting their desire to play this fall, and what missing the season means. For many senior athletes, this is their last season chance to play before they move. For some, this is their chance for scouts to look for them and have a possibility to get drafted to another team.

Several coaches have also made their statements about the decisions and what they feel should take place.

Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, said in an interview with ESPN, “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home.”

Some coaches have come out with similar feelings to Saban, while others have expressed their concern about returning to play. Even some players have expressed concern but their voices have been overshadowed by the overwhelming number of student-athletes that want to return.

While the Power 5 continue to debate on what to do, other conferences have gone to the side of caution and canceled fall and winter athletics. This includes conferences like the Ivy League, America East, and Atlantic 10 along with our very own conference the North-East 10 Conference.

Some conferences have proposed playing their fall seasons in the spring which only raises the questions of who gets priority if conferences are cramming multiple seasons into the fall.

The NCAA has released a statement that it will grant senior athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the situation at hand. This still raises questions as to what this will mean for schools and scholarships that can be awarded to athletes.

As athletes return to their campuses, there seem to be more questions than answers and they can only hope that answers will come soon.