Paul Finebaum: College Football Without Fans Would Be the End of the Sport as We Know It

Paul Finebaum
Goodyear Cotton Bowl - Alabama v Michigan State | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

College football, an American institution, is under attack by a global pandemic. On Get Up this morning, Paul Finebaum was asked about the possibility of college football being played without fans in the stands. Finebaum said it would be the end of college football as we know it because it would mean abandoning any semblance of amateurism.

Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. Earlier today, Greg McElroy said that college football, "has to be played."

Football, college, pro or otherwise, does not HAVE to be played. It is not being played right now. It might not be played this fall. What we're learning right now is that there are a lot of things that don't have to happen. It sucks. People are losing jobs. People are sick and dying and the only way to stop it is to stop everyday life. Some things are essential. College football is not.

If there's anything in sports that could use a complete shake up or tear down, it is the NCAA system. The infrastructure for all these sports. The equipment, the facilities, they won't magically go away. They can come back when the money comes back. That's the reality for most of the country right now. And it really sucks.

Missing one football season would also suck, but if kids don't go back to school, they can't play football. Yeah, NCAA football generates the majority of sports money, but if kids don't go back to school, then there are no other fall sports to pay for anyway. And no regular start for winter sports.

Maybe testing and a vaccine make it possible to get kids back on campuses for the spring semester. The NCAA could still get March Madness and the spring sports that were canceled over the last month. Hell, you could play football in the spring, as Laura Rutlidge said was a possibility, and Chris Fowler said last week.

Rushing into any of this will not help anyone. The money will eventually come back, but it's going to take some time. Just like with the American and World economies, money will again be generated and spent and football stadiums will be packed on Saturdays in the fall, but it should not be a priority.

If it must be a priority, well then we just had a $6 trillion economic stimulus package passed last month that a ton of businesses already missed out on. The NCAA has an annual revenue of around a billion dollars. If that's all it takes for the NCAA to do things as they currently do, while refusing to pay the players who account for most of that money, the government can surely allocate a billion bucks in the next stimulus package to save the NCAA and let them go on with business as usual. Otherwise, they're going to have to start all over. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.