Joe Burrow Expresses Sympathy for CFB Players amid Rumors of a Canceled Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow watches a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Burrow is a likely first round pick in the NFL Draft Thursday, April 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow offered his sympathy for student-athletes whose 2020 season could be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"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," Burrow tweeted.

ESPN reported Power Five conferences are considering canceling or postponing fall sports, including football, with decisions expected this week. Dan Patrick reported the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already decided to scrap fall sports.

Burrow has a legitimate point about the loss of a season potentially affecting a number of players. At this time a year ago, Burrow was considered a late-round draft pick and wasn't guaranteed to be selected. Burrow instead had perhaps the single greatest season for a quarterback in college football history, ascending to become the No. 1 pick in April's draft.

Several players, highlighted by Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, expressed their desire to play during the 2020 season using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. While the players want conferences to agree to holding a season, they also asked for universal health and safety protocols, the ability to keep their scholarships if they opt out over COVID-19 concerns and the ability to form a players association.

As it stands, college football has no uniformity and schools may revoke a scholarship for a player who does not show up this season. Universities are also subject to potential liability lawsuits if they move forward with the season and a player is adversely affected by COVID-19. Players would have to sign a liability waiver in order for the schools to not be responsible.

With less than a month remaining before the season, this is a complicated issue, and it appears more likely to end with no season being played, rather than wholesale structural changes to the sport.