As the novel coronavirus continues to rage on across the country with no real plan to halt transmission, we now have to face the very real prospect that we will have a football-less Fall. A sad and dark reality that we all probably deserve based on all the angry people screaming about masks and fake medical ailments at minimum wage employees who are risking their lives to check you out of Forever 21.
As the Big Ten Conference announces their new Fall schedule, we have already seen full leagues cancel their seasons. Both the Ivy League and the Patriot League have fully canceled Fall sports. The Big Ten also managed to announce their schedule on the very day that UCONN announced it will be canceling Fall sports as well. College football and college sports are in the same wagon as our national economy, stuck in a permanent stasis of both open and closed.
Coming from an area where almost all of the positive cases in our community can be traced to a single college party over Fourth of July weekend, and recognizing national trends that younger, college aged people are the most at risk of spreading the virus, how can anyone morally feel comfortable putting these kids lives at risk? At putting their family members at risk? At putting the surrounding communities at risk? Will these college programs receive waivers from states with travel bans? How can a state be sure that many of these public institutions will respect social distancing in the stands? Or at a super spreader college party celebrating a victory over a rival?
Then we move on to the moral question of whether or not these athletes should report to a college campus that doesn’t feel safe bringing students back. Should these athletes be made to attend a college that the college itself admits isn’t safe for everyone? Should student athletes who are both unpaid and under appreciated, be forced to participate in a contact sport when we know that puts them at risk of the virus? Do you believe a student athlete at risk of losing his dream or potential pro career has the power to tell his coach he values his long-term health over the team’s potential season?
We are also learning about the ways the virus can effect even those in the professional ranks. Rudy Gobert, who infamously touched every microphone to mock the virus, still can’t smell. Von Miller, a potential hall of fame edge rusher has been very candid about the way the virus impacted his lungs. Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman had a fever of 104 degrees and admits he prayed to God not to take him. Then we have Boston Red Sox reliever Eduardo Rodriguez who couldn’t even throw 20 pitch bullpen sessions before tiring out because of the way COVID-19 impacted his heart. This virus isn’t 100% asymptomatic for the young people who get it. The virus has real impact on a person, and can still be deadly or drastically impair your vital organs.
Young adults should not have to choose between their futures and an opportunity at a college education and potential heart failure. They shouldn’t have to face lung damage or have to feel like they need to make a deal with their god to survive a college football season.
While I remain convinced that there will be no college football season this year, it shows a stunning callous by the Big Ten to put out a schedule with the outrageous demand that games be played one month from today. Does anyone really think the country is ready for college football with all the moral dilemmas present to kick off in four weekends? I certainly don’t.