CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Training camp for the University of Akron football program is scheduled to begin on Aug. 7.
They cannot wait to get on the field. They were 0-12 last year and then missed their entire spring camp because of the virus.
“We are so excited to get back out there and compete and continue to grow and develop within our program. Last season was a challenge for so many reasons,” said second-year head coach Tom Arth.
Football will be the first Akron sport to get back on the field. They’re ready to lead the way and show that this can be done in a pandemic. “Everybody is counting on us to follow the procedures to give everybody the chance to return to campus,” said Arth.
The Akron athletic program is adhering to all of the safety expectations of state and local governments.
The Zips are supposed to kick off conference play on Sept. 26, but the week before they go to Clemson. Unlike the Big Ten, the ACC is still committed to non-conference games.
That is huge for Akron. When they play teams like Clemson, they get a large check, one that is important to the school’s budget. “That is certainly a reality and it extends far beyond our athletic department, it’s or entire university,” said Arth. “We are certainly hopeful we are able to play that, but only if it is deemed safe.
The players obviously don’t see any of that money, but it’s a huge opportunity for them. “To prove what they can do athletically and how they hold up and how they compare to top level competition across the country,” said Arth. “Certainly those guys with NFL aspirations, those are big games for them.”
Large schools sometimes take heat for scheduling smaller schools for perceived “easy wins” while the small schools are accused of exposing their players to potential demoralizing blow outs or injuries for the sake of a big payday for the school.
There are other things to consider though. Unlike the NFL, there are no preseason games in NCAA football.
Also unlike the NFL, one loss can keep you out of the playoffs. Powerhouses like Clemson, Ohio State, etc. like to get a few tune up matches to prepare for the long haul while the smaller schools rely on those checks to fuel the university and all athletic programs, not just football.
It has always been good for both sides, and sometimes the small schools even win the game.