It is not difficult to imagine if we were to lose an opportunity that we had been working towards all our life, it would be heartbreaking. This is a reality thousands of athletes across the country at all levels are currently facing amidst this pandemic.
As it stands now, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have postponed their football seasons until spring (at least), and there’s a possibility other conferences will follow suit. That in itself is depressing, but under the extreme circumstances such as what the nation is facing now, the health of athletes comes first.
What doesn’t make sense is ruining an athlete’s chances to not only make a name for themselves, but also form a career. A senior having their last season stolen from them loses the key contributor to upping their draft stock or simply getting noticed.
If this would have happened just a year ago, LSU may have never had their legendary season, with fifth-year senior, Joe Burrow, leading the way. Along with that, Burrow would not have been the first overall pick in the draft. Burrow is just one of the hundreds of examples.
Burrow expressed this in a tweet on August 10, stating that: “If this happened a year ago, I may be looking for a job right now."
I feel for all college athletes right now. I hope their voices are heard by the decision makers. If this happened a year ago I may be looking for a job right now.— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) August 10, 2020
Burrow was incredibly fortunate to not have this past season get postponed or cancelled. LSU’s Myles Brennan, who is currently a junior, may not share the same fortune.
Burrow grew tremendously as a junior, then exploded into his Heisman-performing senior season. Without that junior season, Burrow would lose the experience that potentially helped craft him into the athlete he has grown into.
Brennan could have a similar progression, but we may never know if he loses his junior season.
A cancellation would affect other LSU players, including senior safeties Jacoby Stevens and Kary Vincent Jr. Though these players would likely be drafted without their senior seasons, they could lose the potential to boost their draft stocks, costing them anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars.
But it is not just about forming a prosperous career and making money.
For some of these players, it’s their last chance to play a sport they love or for a team they love. They could have played their last snap without even knowing it.
SEC football is not cancelled or postponed yet, but it could happen soon. It’s a reality we as fans may be forced to accept, but it shouldn’t ruin the players’ opportunities in the process.
Though it’s speculated the season could just be pushed back to spring, we don’t know that. We have no idea what the next few months or years of this pandemic could change, but the players should be given the chance to prove themselves whenever they can play again.