College FootballBy Tom Dougherty
12 August 2020
Shutting down college football is the least of our concerns
Shut it all down. That was my initial reaction to the Big 10 and Pac 12 cancelling college football for the fall. All conferences should follow suit. The end of COVID-19 in the US is nowhere near the end and any limitation to exposing people, including college athletes, is a must.
But it’s complicated.
The other three Big 5 conferences – ACC, SEC and Big 12 – are saying college football is still on. For now. But subject to change. I can see all three shutting it down at a later date. It’ll take just one outbreak among a team to make university officials and athletic directors think twice. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
But like I said, it’s complicated. The Big 10 and Pac 12 aren’t really concerned with player safety. They’re afraid of getting sued. College athletes don’t have a union like professional athletes, so they play at the behest of their schools. They’re vulnerable with little recourse – other than to sue universities if they contact the virus or develop complications because of it.
As Deep Throat said, follow the money. Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Justin Fields of Ohio State have called for a college football players union, but nothing will come of it. Now, there are reports that athletes, especially big men like football players, can develop enlarged hearts because of the virus.
“I still lean to shutting down college football. But we have bigger problems. A refusal to take COVID-19 seriously enough to take full measures to ensure public safety. Instead, we take half measures.”
College football will eventually shut down, but the virus will keep spreading
Scary. And all that points to shutting down college football for the fall. (In the spring? That brings other complications that’ll be revisited then.) But coaches, who obviously have their own self-interests at heart, say players are actually more protected on a football team than in school because of protocols and testing. Despite the conflict of interest in that statement, they have a point. (And, in the spirit of transparency, I selfishly want to watch college football.)
Colleges and universities are set to open soon and, my oh my, could that kickstart outbreaks all across the country. I’m actually for a complete national shutdown for six weeks to wipe this thing away. But we as a nation lack the discipline to do that. Sadly, we’re going to be living with COVID-19 until there’s a vaccine.
I still lean to shutting down college football. But we have bigger problems. A refusal to take COVID-19 seriously enough to take full measures to ensure public safety. Instead, we take half measures.
Let ‘em play. But it won’t make a difference either way. We have bigger issues.
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