Fact or Fiction: If Florida plays a game on Sept. 26 as planned, there will be a Gator Walk

Florida defensive back Kaiir Elam gives low-fives to fans as he carried the Chucky doll during Gator Walk on Nov. 30, 2019 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

As we continue to navigate this COVID-19 landscape, we will keep going with our Fact or Fiction segments as long as the promise of a season is still out there. We have received several suggestions from readers, so keep them coming. Robbie Andreu and Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun go at it again, with the hope that one day we will know which one was right:

Item 1

If Florida plays a game on Sept. 26 as planned, there will be a Gator Walk.

Andreu: Unfortunately, the Gator Walk is going to be the Gator Wave this season. It’s going to be like it was back in the day, before Urban Meyer came up with the Walk, when the team buses would take the ramp down beneath the south end zone and drop the players off just outside the locker room door. There will be no fans there to greet them. What the players will get is the Gator Wave instead. As the buses pull through campus with a police escort, the fans will be relegated to standing on the sidewalk and waving to the players as they ride by. FICTION.

Dooley: This was a great question submitted by a reader. I just can’t see it. Let’s say there is the opener on whatever day that turns out to be. Certainly you could push the fans back far enough and implement mask rules for everyone so that there is no touching, no high fives, just fans screaming for the team they care so much about. But how are you going to socially distance the fans from each other? I guess it would be possible after I saw a video of a concert overseas with spaced out platforms, but I think there are more important things to worry about if they start playing. More likely, they will take the team in the back way the way they used to in the Steve Spurrier days. FICTION.

Item 2

If the three Power 5 conference teams still breathing do play this fall along with the Group of Five teams that are planning to, there will be a Heisman Trophy awarded at the end of the season

Andreu: How do you justify giving this award to the best player in college football if a huge portion of the players aren’t even playing? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then what does nowadays. Here’s how I think you can award the Heisman where everyone — well, almost everyone — feels good about it: if the three conferences play on, there’s a football playoff and the Downtown Athletic Club waits until after the championship game to have the vote to determine the best player in college football. If the championship game feels legit, then the Heisman winner would, too. FACT.

Dooley: The problem is an obvious one (although it doesn’t seem all that relevant with what is going on). If there is football in the fall and again in the spring, does that mean two Heismans? Or does it mean there is a vote after the last regular season game in December and the other two leagues are left out. To be honest, I think the Downtown Athletic Club decides to wait until all of college football is played or decides just not to have one, which would not be fair to the players. Here’s another scenario. What if a truncated season is played in the fall and nobody plays in the spring? It might be a good idea just to punt the stiff-armed one until we can get back to something resembling normalcy. FICTION.

Item 3

Because of the events of the past few months, there will be a change in leadership at the top of the NCAA.

Andreu: The NCAA’s lack of leadership — and strength — has been totally exposed by what’s been going on the past five months. While the Power 5 conferences were functioning as a unified group and going their separate ways on whether or not to play football this fall, Mark Emmert and the NCAA sat back and watched it unfold without doing a thing. No stance. No advice. No nothing. There’s no doubt that during these changing times, a big change needs to be made at the top of the NCAA. It makes perfect sense. And because it does, the NCAA won’t act. FICTION.

Dooley: Just two years ago, Mark Emmert’s contract was extended through 2023 with an option for 2024. Let us remember that the people really dissatisfied with the leadership of the NCAA (which has been almost non-existent) are the media. The presidents and commissioners are cool with it because they like having control over football and leave the menial tasks to the NCAA. It really doesn’t matter that fans may want a czar or a commissioner over college football because the powers-that-be kind of like the fact that it is rudderless. And anyone who wants a czar will think it was a bad idea the first time he or she rules against your school. All this said, I think this would be a good time to replace Emmert if only because of the optics. FACT.


  1. ”It might be a good idea just to punt the stiff-armed one until we can get back to something resembling normalcy.”
    That could BE NEXT SPRING, if clinical trails go well. And then again, IT MAY BE NEVER, and we have to learn to LIVE WITH IT. In which case, there goes your job, or maybe you and Robbies, ”Creative Writing” classes kick in.