For the last six months, America has been caught in the grips of the coronavirus. We have had to make so many changes in our lives. Changes that may become permanent to our way of life. We watched sports come to a halt and wondered when they may start again. Well, some of them have come back and now, it’s college football making major decisions.
So far, conferences that NGSC Sports covers, like the SWAC, the Southland, and America East, have all decided that this virus will keep them from playing this fall. This week, the Big Ten, PAC-12, the Mountain West, and the MAC have decided they will not play this fall as well. On the other side of the coin, the ACC and the SEC still plan to play this fall. Teams like Nebraska and UMass have also indicated their desire to play too. As of Tuesday morning, UMass decided they will, in fact, not play fall football.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a football fan, I would love to see college football being played. It has been refreshing to see what the NBA, WNBA, MLS, and NHL have been able to do under their respective bubbles. MLB had issues that threatened the season just four days into it. For now, it looks like they may be able to finish the year out, but that is still to be seen.
The thing about college football’s decisions is how do you play the sport and not spread this virus? How do you find a way to play it safely? The chair of the ACC medical advisory board is one that seems to think it can be done. The key to playing safe has to be in the testing. Will there be a universal system on testing, or will conferences each have their own?
If we have learned anything the past six months it is that a universal system must be put into place if there is any chance for the game to be played safely.
Another roadblock will be how teams practice and the schedules they will play. A lot of talks have gone on about playing conference schedules only. Some teams have talked about maybe adding a non-conference game too. Then there are the issues of the post-season bowl games.
With some conferences not playing until spring, hopefully, how are the bowl games going to be done? How can we have those games in the traditional sense with all these teams that won’t play for another six months? So many questions with not enough answers.
Life has changed as we have never seen in this lifetime due to this virus. It has divided us in so many ways that one has to wonder if the division will be permanent. It has been turned into a political nightmare that has been used as a weapon in so many ways.
But it does not have to be that way for all of us. We have to understand that this virus has no sexual or political preference. It does not care what you believe in or how you feel about it. All it wants is to get inside of us and do what it does best, infect us, and anyone else in its path.
I, for one, have been in favor of no college football at all for the sake of our student-athletes. For the sake of the safety of all of us that may come in contact with others infected. But we can all agree on one thing. We all want life to come back to the new normal where we can see our sports being played again.