The coronavirus has turned the sports world upside down, and it’s completely changed the gameday experience for players, coaches and fans.
But it’s not only the games and matches themselves that are being impacted, it’s also how teams practice, and even look to build their roster, apparently.
The college football landscape has been particularly polarizing, and some conferences elected not to play in the fall, while others are already doing exactly that. It’s a big risk to take, but it allows players to continue to grow and develop on the field, rather than treating the situation as a gap year.
And it does give them a leg up on their competition, specifically as it relates to being drafted. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert stated that the team will target draft prospects who have played recently, rather than those who have not.
“The one thing, the conferences that chose not to play, and the players that opted out, we understand all that,” Colbert said, via Yahoo Sports. “Obviously, they are doing it for safety and health, first and foremost, and we respect that. However, the players that get the opportunity to play and choose to play, we feel more comfortable in their evaluations.”
“Because I just don’t know, sitting out a year, what those players are going to look like having missed the season,” Colbert said. “There’s just not a real natural source of information saying, ‘Well, when this player sits out, he’ll be this,’ because we just don’t know.
“We respect the fact that they aren’t playing, but we also have to make the best decisions, and I think the best decisions we’ll be able to make are the ones where we can see them play in 2020.”
It’s a tough business, and certainly isn’t fair to everyone, but we completely understand where Colbert is coming from. And we believe most other teams will be employing a similar approach when creating their draft boards.