There will be no Apple Cup. At least not this fall.
Last week the Pac-12 made the call college football fans were dreading when the conference announced it was shutting down all fall athletic competition, including football, because of concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus.
This means the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars will not take the field against one another — or any other competition — this year. Archbishop Murphy High School graduate Abe Lucas and Cascade High School grad Josh Watson will not be reprising their role as the right side of the Cougar offensive line. Archbishop Murphy grad Kyler Gordon will not be fighting for a starting spot in the Husky secondary.
The decision to shut down athletics until at least the beginning of the new year was unanimous among the Pac-12’s member institutions, and football coaches like Washington’s Jimmy Lake expressed their full support for the decision.
However, the decision about whether to play college football is far from unanimous nationwide.
The country’s Power Five conferences — the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC and ACC — are split almost down the middle. The Big Ten joined the Pac-12 in announcing the cancellation of fall football last Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Big-12, SEC and ACC are planning to forge ahead with their football seasons for now, playing schedules strictly within conference.
What the differing routes illustrate are the differing opinions on the danger of the coronavirus, as well as differing opinions on the financial necessity of conducting football seasons. The leagues are in disagreement on whether they have the capability to keep players in a high-contact sport safe — including measures like regular testing and contact tracing — from a virus that according to the Centers for Disease Control has already claimed 168,000 lives in the United States, and that may have led to the development of myocarditis in the heart of at least five Big Ten athletes. In the background of these disagreements is the fact that football is the big money maker for most college athletic departments and helps fund other sports.
What this all ultimately means is yet to be determined. There are suggestions that the Pac-12 may attempt to play football in the spring, similar to the way the WIAA has moved the state’s high school football season to March and April. Meanwhile, the conferences that are intending to play this fall acknowledge that changes in the situation, such as outbreaks among the teams, could force them to reconsider their plans.
So what do you think? Do you think the Pac-12 made the right decision in canceling its football season, at least for now? Let us know by voting in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll: