While anticipation grows for the upcoming 2020 college football season, there is another battle that needs to be won before normalcy can return in the sports world. Everyone in America is trying to defeat Covid-19.
While players have been cleared to return to campus for voluntary workouts and team activities as of June 1, we still don’t know how the season will be impacted or if fans will be allowed inside stadiums.
Perhaps best case scenario right now is a full season played as scheduled with no fans at all. Period. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun and take away much of what makes college football so great. But it’s just hard to imagine a 1/2 full Death Valley, Swamp, Doak Campbell, Big House, Neyland Stadium, Horseshoe, Big House, Happy Valley, or……Hard Rock Stadium.
Wait, maybe not so much with the latter of that group.
I saw an idea earlier today that I thought was one of the better solutions if we do indeed significantly lower stadium capacity each weekend. The person suggested a regular season that starts on time but only students and players’ parents are allowed to attend.
But we have to remember, money rules the world and I’m interested to see how schools handle their big donors and luxury suite folks. Obviously that is a key part of revenue and ticket sales. But truth be told, if we are really going to practice social distancing, a suite with 10-15 of our friends or family members isn’t the place to be.
This leads to my concerns about the media. You typically don’t have room to spread out and make yourself comfortable in the media press box and you definitely are not six feet apart. Not sure how you go about handling that aspect especially with the ever-growing number of outlets covering games and requesting credentials. Who gets to cover the game when you have to cut the number of reporters in the press box so drastically?
It is still too early to make any decisions, but it is time to have several plans ready to go depending on what will and will not be allowed.
The battle against Covid-19 within the sports world is far from over. We are beginning to see an uptick of cases but we must also remember testing, too, has increased. However, DHEC stated the increase in cases isn’t simply because of more test. This comes after South Carolina announced 687 new Covid-19 cases today–a new high for single-day reported cases in the state.
Several programs have reported cases of the virus over the last week. Among those who have come forward with those positive testing results include Alabama, Auburn, Central Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Iowa State, Marshall, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
While players have just returned a few days ago, we know that anyone that has tested positive this soon likely already had the virus and contracted it back home or at least prior to arriving back on campus for the test.
Yes, it is alarming regardless of how or where they were infected. But it is not fair and potentially extremely detrimental to pin the origin of the cases on players returning to campus. I say that because we’ve seen limited positive cases reported from athletes upon returning to campus. But don’t get me wrong, the threat of a spread on a team is a serious concern as players being to reunite over the next several weeks.
Routine testing seems like an absolute must to keep players and coaches safe in the immediate future and I can tell you first-hand that the test sucks. After battling a fever for a few days recently, I went to be tested for Covid-19. (Thankfully it was negative) It wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I can assure you it’s not something I would care to do again. I can’t imagine needing to be screened for it say every 2-4 weeks….especially when I’m not showing symptoms. Unfortunately, we could be headed that way if we want college football to return this fall.
Looking ahead, if we do indeed see a second wave of the virus, how will that impact football mid-season? And if a player tests positive, do they automatically have to sit out two weeks or more? Will it almost be like a wrestling weigh-in where players must have a negative test and no symptoms to be eligible to play each week? Where is the funding for this amount of frequent and large-scale testing going to come from? Just think, players, coaches, trainers, and any other staff members that work closely with the team…..we’re talking a boat load of test. For every team in the country. Yikes.
And let’s be real…how are we to know for sure that coaches will follow any standards that come into play regarding Covid-19 and not hide a test result here and there? There are a ton of moving parts to this mess and this all can become complicated rather quickly.
I’m glad I don’t have to make any of these decisions.