In the wake of the news the Big Ten was planning to cancel the 2020 football season, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence started a social media movement #WeWantToPlay and Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek was the first to join Monday morning.
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) August 10, 2020
Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman, who hasn’t even been able to have a single real practice with his team after taking the job in December, joined in later.
— Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) August 10, 2020
Some of the national media noticed.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 10, 2020
It has started a tidal wave across college football as athletics directors and players have reacted to the news that broke Sunday about the Big Ten cancelling the season and the Pac 12 expected to go along.
Some of the knee-jerk national media jumped in and expanded it to all of college football.
Yurachek started it and now even the athletics directors and coaches in the Big Ten have weighed in joining the movement.
On the Paul Finebaum Show on Monday afternoon, Yurachek indicated nothing had been decided yet.
Back in, I think 1918 or 1919, some schools played four or five games, some schools seven, or eight or nine games. I don’t know that they definitively declared a national champion, but they played college football. We’ve played college football… Last year was the 150th anniversary of college football. College football has survived a number of things during the past 150 years, and I truly believe that college football in some way shape or form can also survive what we’re going through right now. It may survive without all the teams in the Power 5 or the FBS participating this year, but college football will survive.
Based on what Yurachek said, reports of the SEC planning (at least now) to cancel the season is greatly exaggerated.
“We’re continuing to proceed,” Yurachek said on the show. “We’re obviously proceeding with caution, but we feel like we have a really good plan that started back roughly two weeks ago when we announced a 10-game conference only schedule.”
Like he has tried to do throughout the coronavirus pandemic that has now dragged on for five months, he is preaching caution.
“There’s no need to rush into making those decisions,” he said Monday.
He’s not jumping on the prediction train that picked up momentum Sunday with national media predictions of the season being ended. Some have even speculated about a spring season that has so many problems it probably will never be realistic at the Power 5 level.
“We’re ready to get started with practice next Monday,” Yurachek said. “That can continue to change, but our student-athletes, Coach Pittman and I meet with them on a regular basis.”
And it’s not just football. Apparently athletes in other sports are starting to hop onto the movement.
“They want to play, and not just in the sport of football, but that goes for women’s soccer and volleyball,” Yurachek said.
Before there’s quick reaction that he’s wanting to “force” the players into doing something that is dangerous, he has a vested interest. His son is on the team, another that’s a grad assistant and a third one that started high school practice last week.
“My wife and I both feel comfortable with them participating based on what we know,” Yurachek said.
Probably no one in the media has a more vested interest in the safety surrounding college football — or other sports — than he does.
Whether they want to admit it or not.