With COVID-19 continuing to throw a wrench into the college football season, it might be logical for some Notre Dame football players to consider not playing in 2020.
COVID-19 continues to provide a gut punch to college football fans. With the power five conferences beginning to announce conference-only schedules, the snowball is seemingly turning into an avalanche. For some players, sitting out whatever 2020 season might be played may be best for their careers long term. But what Notre Dame football players stand to lose more than they might gain by playing in 2020?
First of all, there is a great deal of debate about the dangers of COVID-19. That debate is not one that will be entertained in this particular piece.
In addition, no one knows exactly what the college football season will look like in 2020. If the beginning of the season gets pushed back, it would be logical for many players across the college football landscape to not play this season. The longer it gets pushed back, the more players might make this decision, logically.
Regardless, it goes without saying that players who choose to play in whatever the 2020 season looks like, will be taking at least some risk to their health.
For the Notre Dame football team, looking down the roster, it really is difficult to pick out a ton of players who wouldn’t have much to gain and little to lose by playing.
Really, this issue can be boiled down to one, simple question: Who on Notre Dame’s roster has nothing left to prove?
Looking through position groups, there aren’t a ton of players who fit that billing. Ian Book came back for a graduate season, so logic would dictate that he would want to play.
Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey have been staples in the Irish offense for multiple seasons. Either of them could logically opt out of this season and take their chances in next year’s NFL Draft.
Defensively, it would seem that many who came back did so because they had unfinished business. Honestly, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah may be a candidate for someone who could say “I proved myself last year and 2020 was just supposed to be icing on the cake,” and take his chances, but even he was undoubtedly playing for NFL Draft positioning.
For the Irish, it’s tremendously hard to tell who might consider sitting out 2020 because they simply don’t have guys who have completely solidified professional futures yet. They don’t have a consensus number-one pick such as Trevor Lawrence of Clemson.
Finally, a final aspect to consider would be whether younger players such as Kyle Hamilton might consider sitting out this season and gambling that there will be a more typical college football season in 2021. Certainly, this might make some sense for some younger players who aren’t willing to risk their long-term health to play in 2020.
Obviously, this is all speculation. As of yet, no major players have come out and announced plans to sit out the 2020 season and certainly there are a ton of factors that could contribute to such decisions — factors that, frankly, many of us may never know.