For most sports fans, the Final Four ends the collegiate seasons of sports that move the needle: football and men’s and women’s basketball. The 2020-2021 year was challenging in so many ways. There was a lot not to like and situations that we’d never want to see again. Fans grew frustrated at not being able to attend games as well as not knowing if games would actually be played, but imagine what the players had to go through just to make these events happen. These are college kids that got robbed of a true college experience, compromised their education, and put their own health at risk so that we may enjoy that games and the schools could cash in on those lucrative television contracts.
We also saw how fragile the college financial system can be and how fractured the leadership really is. That was no more apparent than in college football when ten conferences had ten different views on what to to do with their seasons. The ACC and Big 12 decided to start on time, the SEC waited a few weeks, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 originally canceled their seasons before deciding to cram one in late in the year. Leagues were making moves on their own with a very distinct line drawn. That’s not good for the health of the sport, and certainly not when times are tough.
It wasn’t all bad, however, as some of the necessary changes that came up during the year were not only admirable but are changes that may be worth revisiting in the future. Some are smaller and more aesthetically pleasing while others would take a major overhaul of certain aspects of how collegiate sports typically run. If you were willing to make changes during a pandemic to fulfill your needs, then maybe they could stick around to meet the needs of everyone.
Here are some of the changes we saw during the 2020-2021 year that we’d like to see continue when things get back to “normal”.