How the 2020 college football season actually plays out is not known yet, full stadiums, empty stadiums or reduction in the number of games. All of it seems a little bizarre right now.
Regardless of how the leaders ultimately decide to execute this year’s college football season, there is history and precedent to tap into when making the final decisions.
World War II and the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic gave us a blueprint.
The environment and production around the game were much different back then than they are today, but tough choices had to be made in 1918 to avoid spreading the flu. And beginning in late 1941 the United States and its young men went to war.
In 1942, war mobilization was the country’s top priority and yet they still found a way to continue playing the game we all love. Have faith the same will happen over the next four weeks.
In 1918, much of the college football season was pushed back and many teams only played a handful of games. A season was still played.
American life was altered so the college football game had to adapt.
As a side note, Ohio State won the national title in 1942 under second-year head coach Paul Brown. Perhaps Buckeye Nation will be equally lucky in Ryan Day’s second season.
Dealing with COVID-19 is just presenting different challenges.
Imagining games without spectators makes us uncomfortable. Tail-gate parties, pep rallies and marching bands are traditions embedded in the fabric of many college towns.
Still, those temporary losses are better than no games at all.
The larger concern is the impact on local economies. Finding a way to play the games is probably the easiest issue to resolve. In the coming weeks as the details get unveiled, keep in mind that supporting the thousands of businesses that rely on the home games for survival cannot be understated.
Wars and the Spanish Flu didn’t kill the college football game, neither will COVID-19. The setbacks are temporary.