Things are getting exciting if you are a sports fan. Professional and college sports are inching closer to a return. But still three months into this coronavirus pandemic it continues to impact the college sports landscape and the normality of things in our lives.
Before we can create a new normal and have it begin to take shape, colleges and universities will have to find a safe way to reopen campuses. This is no game, there are high-stakes public health issues that need to be dealt with before there is a good sense of what college sports will look like.
In the past week we have had the following incidents regarding COVID-19:
- Kansas State – suspended football workouts for 14 days after 14 athletes from various sports tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Clemson – 23 confirmed cases of members on the Tigers’ football team that tested positive.
- University of Texas – 13 football players have confirmed positive coronavirus test results.
- LSU – at least 30 players in self isolation after a positive test.
So what does this mean? It means that we are putting sports ahead of the real focus of today’s world. To put it into perspective, all of these positive tests have happened on empty campuses in the middle of the summer.
The real question would be what happens when fall and winter semesters start again? How many cases are there going to be if thousands of students are allowed to go back on these campuses without a vaccine? What about when players start swapping sweat and hitting each other in practice?
College sports is at a crossroads of sorts which consists of making money, health, ethics and athletics. The goal that the college sports are relying on is absolute safety for the athletes. But at the same time, athletic departments and schools require those players to actually play in order to have any sort of funding from TV deals in place. You of course know that the players want to play, but they are becoming more self-aware and worried by the day. Unfortunately, they can’t play in a bubble like the pros and contain any spread that could potentially happen. This whole situation is a race to see who can get the money the quickest without sacrificing its players.
So, the ultimate question is this: are college sports worth the potential spread and second wave of this virus?
The straight up answer is… hell no. As much as we want sports to come back and be a part of our lives again, it is just not the right time. With the numbers I stated above as is, just look at how Florida has had such a setback with 7000+ cases since re-opening things. This is a huge blow and potential issue with the NBA and MLS starting back up in Disney. University and colleges in Canada have already started to cancel their fall semesters.
College sports fans are diehard’s but let’s not take that too literally. We need to be smart when bringing back sports and we need to be safe.
If we truly care about players safety then we need to put the health of the players and students ahead of our desire for sports to return. I am a huge sports fan and want nothing more than for sports to come back but even I have to admit, unless we can fully guarantee the best health and safety for everyone then we need to stop and focus on getting this pandemic under control.