It’s barely been a month since I penned this piece saying that it felt like College Sports were in a bit of a rush to get back to normal. Since then most colleges have brought their student athletes back to campus and... well, it could be going better.
NEWS: Kansas State has paused voluntary football workouts for 14 days after more positive COVID-19 tests. pic.twitter.com/jaQNOlAV8P— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) June 20, 2020
NEWS: At least 30 #LSU football players have been in quarantine, sources tell @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) June 20, 2020
Some have tested positive; others found to have contacted positives. A portion got infected at Baton Rouge nightclub outbreak.
No hospitalizations or serious illness.https://t.co/yWekg8M7ce
So on top of LSU and Kansas State, Clemson, Houston, Texas, Iowa State, South Florida, UT San Antonio, Marshall, and West Virginia have all had players test positive and started quarantine measures.
We’re still months away from football being played, so there’s no reason to panic. But this amount of activity for teams who are already on campus and supposedly being cautious in and around each other should be raising some red flags. Ben Fredrickson wrote a piece which was published before the K-State and LSU news and had this to say:
Figuring this out will be tough.
Especially when there are so many college football teams across such a big country. Especially when each team has different ideas about how to keep the virus minimized, and a different amount of resources to put those methods into practice. Especially when each program’s actions will become fodder for political debate in its state. Especially when this entire thing hinges on college football players, who tend to think they are invincible, becoming convinced their health dictates the health of their season.
In large part any college level athletes who might contract the disease should be able to handle its effects and recover, even possibly without hospitalization. It’s not a perfect 100%, but it’s enough to think there should be a massive panic over these small outbreaks... in general.
I say in general because I want to point out these players are not paid professionals. Part of my hesitancy with the push forward stems from this one point. If the NBA or MLB or NFL or NHL or any other professional league want to push forward with playing games, they have to clear any agreement with the players union. There’s a governing body which can agree or negotiate with any stipulations or roadblocks towards getting games going again.
With College sports, it’s not that way... at all. Athletes are basically hoping the Athletic Department at each school has the best of intentions when implementing all the safety protocols. And at least one school isn’t so sure about the intentions:
Breaking: UCLA football players are demanding that a “third-party health official” be on hand for all football activities to see that protocols for COVID-19 are followed, saying they don't trust coach Chip Kelly’s program to act in their best interest https://t.co/8fMfHRn1dj— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 19, 2020
I want sports to come back, and the sooner the better... provided we aren’t putting people in danger. But more than anything, there appears to be no real plan for players testing positive in season.
More than anything I feel worry. Worry we’re going to be steamrolling towards a season where Athletic Directors and fans expect business as usual and it will be anything but that. Jim Sterk and Jeff Long were just talking about having two scenarios where there’s 100% capacity or 50% capacity for home games in college football. And I feel like 100% occupancy is absurd to think about, and 50% seems optimistic.
Cases aren't going down, and things are opening up and there’s a large segment of the public who seem adverse to wearing masks and protecting themselves and others.
So what’s the end game and where are we going to be in two more months?
I have no idea. I don’t want to pretend to have an idea. Everything is very day to day, and I think any expectation for where we’ll be by the end of August should be thrown out the window because nobody knows. We’re trying to figure this out. So I hope you, fellow fan, are doing everything in your power to prevent the spread of this disease. The faster we control it, the sooner sports get back to normal.