Alabama football coach Nick Saban doesn’t seem too thrilled at the idea of a spring football season. After the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced that they would be canceling their fall seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic with the hope of playing this spring, Saban warned of one of the dangers.
For Saban, spring football could simply be a lesser product with top players in the nation opting not to play because of its proximity to the NFL Draft.
“I think we all sort of have a group of people that we have a tremendous amount of respect for who are trying to guide us through this, and I’m talking about medical folks,” Saban said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up. “And I think everybody’s circumstance and situation is a little bit different. I actually hate it for the players who won’t get the opportunity to play and compete and create value for themselves.
“Because I think one of the real consequences of this is if you’re a junior or a senior and you have an NFL grade, are you going to play in the spring? Or is that going to become sort of a JV season with a lot of these juniors and seniors opting out?
“I’m in no way judging what anybody’s trying to do or not do. But our medical experts here thought that we could try to do this [and] create a safe environment and see if we can play. And I think that’s what we’re doing, and I think they’ve done a wonderful job of that.”
We have already seen multiple players opt out of the upcoming season to prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine and preserve their NFL Draft stock, so Saban does have a point.
Would players really risk playing in the spring and suffering an injury that could immediately wipe out their rookie year? Or will they ultimately decide to call it a college career and focus on moving on to the next level? Only time will tell.