May 26, 2024

College Football should take the loss to Covid

Just punt on 2020 - we'll try again when it's safer

empty tempe, az stadium
Photo by Ameer Basheer via Unsplashd

There are, best I can tell, around 150-ish people who are regularly around the average college football program, including players, coaches, sports medicine, and the administrative staff.

Below is the Georgia Tech Covid-19 Risk Level Map (taken July 22, 2020), set to 100 people, with the D1 CFB program locations (apparently made sometime before Idaho went back to the Big Sky) overlaid.

Tami Dooley | The Tailgate Society Covid-19 Risk Assessment Map by Georgia Tech, plot of CFB schools by google

At least one person on the team or on their support staff is statistically guaranteed to get the virus in way too many of the places where D1 college football is played.

I wish there were a way around it. For many, CFB is love and CFB is life. Right now, that means canceling gatherings of more than a few people, masking up, not doing extraneous stuff, and considering how to get hunkered down for the coming winter.

Players should not be expected to be on campus doing workouts for a season when nobody knows if it is even less safe than usual to play. Functional societies get nice things like schools and public gatherings and sports. We don’t have one of those right now, so we get less nice stuff like barely supported and definitely not answered contact tracing, quarantine, testing delays, a lack of hospital space, lack of PPE, high unemployment, and higher anxiety.

The players, while adults, are not professional athletes. As the NCAA has assured us so many times, they are students, and many of them are going to go pro in something other than sports. That means they aren’t paid enough to quarantine successfully on their own, there is no bubble, no real oversight outside of the people who collect the profits, and very little in the way of recourse if one were to contract the virus in the course of SHARING A FACILITY WITH 150 OTHER PEOPLE.

Football coaches are not public health experts. We can’t even get them to handle concussions correctly. Custodial staff are not compensated enough to clean up after all of it and probably won’t have good enough PPE at a lot of places – especially when that means cleaning up before and after a (reduced attendance) stadium on game day.

Embed from Getty Images

Then we get into the money, and that’s what will, unfortunately, drive the College Football Industrial Complex to try.

Non-Power 5 schools need to play to float the rest of their sports. Power 5 conferences, their member institutions, the TV networks, sports content creators of all stripes, and a bunch of local businesses need to play to make the money printer go brrrr. Fans want them to play for some sort of relief from the insanity that is 2020, and many are treating that more like a need than a want.

In fact, in the time of Covid… all of it is more of a want than a need. College football was already dangerous. Playing it right now, with basically unchecked spread of the virus in much of the country, is delusional. I hope that the university presidents get that sooner rather than later.

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Tami Dooley 142 Articles

Tami is from Idaho. She's a fan of the Boise State Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, college football on the whole, and almost thought about becoming a baseball fan for a minute one time. Send whiskey.

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