As the uncertainty of fall sports mounts some schools are already opting out. Speculation and rumors of what will actually happen to the college football season seem to pop up by the hour. One idea has been a seven-game season, consisting only of in-conference play; it’s not the ideal situation, but one that might be the only alternative. The Big 10 has already elected to go with this type of plan. Although it is likely to be nine games. Still, Texas A&M starter Leon O’Neal would sit out an abbreviated 2020 season, per his social media accounts.
Leon O’Neal Would Sit Out Abbreviated 2020 Season
Starting strong-safety and vocal team leader, Leon O’Neal Jr. took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the idea of the seven-game season. He stated “If we only play 7 games this year I’ll pass… not wasting another year”
If we only play 7 games this year I’ll pass not wasting another year
— Leon O’Neal Jr 🛌 (@WakeEmUp9) July 9, 2020
The hard-hitting junior played a substantial amount last year compared to his freshman year, earning the starting spot. He ended the season with 41 total tackles and an interception in 12 games.
His decision to sit out a seven-game season is not concrete or final yet, considering no schedule has been decided on by the powers-that-be. However, the college football world could see a trend that follows this ideology, as many players will have some questions to ask themselves. Why should players that are on the verge of a breakout year or with already high draft stock play in a shortened season that will have an asterisk next to it? What more can they gain, especially with potentially no bowl games or no “warm-up” games?
The decision by O’Neal Jr. would almost certainly not be the last of its kind. The decision to sit or play will also likely hinge on the NCAA’s decision to allow a COVID-19 induced redshirt year. As happened with the cancellation of Spring 2020 college sports, the NCAA granted waivers to players who wanted to retain the year of eligibility. The difference is those Spring athletes had no choice as their schedules were cancelled. There is no precedent to assume someone who chooses to sit out because they are not happy with the schedule, will be granted that extra year.
It is unlikely any school would be limited to seven games. If this path continues through the conferences, a nine game schedule would seem to be the model. Once the gavel hits the bench for the SEC, collegiate athletes will be faced with the decision: sit out the abbreviated year or play though the circumstances.