We’ve been hearing a lot about NFL players sitting out this season due to COVID-19, with a total of 66 players on BTSC’s complete list of players opting out for 2020. These opt-outs could have a big effect on the upcoming season, especially with some bigger names deciding to sit out, such as the Chiefs’ Damien Williams, the Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower, and the Giants’ Nate Solder, just to name a few.
These players aren’t the only ones opting out, however. At the college football level, some of the NCAA’s biggest stars won’t be playing in the upcoming season either.
Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau is perhaps the biggest name to opt-out so far in college football. His decision was announced on Thursday. Rousseau was a potential top-10 pick entering his redshirt sophomore season, but remains to be seen if he will return to Miami next year or enter the draft.
Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, considered by many to be the top linebacker in college football, announced on his Instagram Thursday that he wouldn’t be playing in 2020. Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore tweeted that he wouldn't play in 2020 either on Thursday, while Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman also announced his decision to opt out on Twitter Tuesday. Both Moore and Bateman are among the top receivers in 2021’s draft class. Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, also considered to be among the best at his position, announced his decision to forgo the 2020 season on Instagram on July 29th.
All four players were set to be juniors in this upcoming season, and announced their intentions to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
Parsons, Moore, Bateman and Farley were discussed in a BTSC series about 2021 draft prospects here (linebackers), here (wide receivers), and here (cornerbacks).
A group of PAC-12 players wrote an article in The Players’ Tribune entitled “#WeAreUnited”, in which they listed demands regarding the handling of college sports throughout the pandemic, as well as economic and social justice issues. Among their demands was the “…option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster.”
They threatened to opt out of the season if their demands were not met and “guaranteed in writing”.
Many other college athletes have begun opting out of the 2020 season, and it looks like the list will keep growing throughout the offseason.
It remains to be seen how opting out of the season will affect college athletes, especially those entering the upcoming draft. Will having more time to train for the combine actually give them an upper hand over their peers, or will the lack of playing time seriously hurt their draft stock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and make sure to stay tuned to BTSC for more football news in these uncertain times.