I chose my college because I wanted to cheer for a major conference Division 1 sports program. Ya, I’m that guy.
And while my degree may be considered a valuable asset, my love for college sports and the feeling of rooting on my alma mater are probably more important to me.
Ever since I was a kid, I loved collegiate athletics. So much so, that I used to rent old NCAA Football video games and watch the computer play against the computer. There was just something about the majestic stadiums, costume cladded mascots, and the colorful fan bases that screamed to my inner being.
In electronic form, there weren’t any decibel records broken, but the screen did shake in a hostile road game.
If you didn’t get it by me watching fake football by myself, I’m probably one of the most passionate collegiate sports fans you’ll ever meet, which is why the following sentence pains me to write:
College football needs to be cancelled in the fall.
As it stands today, coronavirus cases are reaching unprecedented levels in the U.S. As of earlier this week, a news headline read that for the fourth time in eight days the U.S. had seen a new record-high number of cases.
While many jobs are essential, such as healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and the like, it’s probably safe to say that college athletes shouldn’t be included in this rarified air.
Many sports enthusiasts around the country may argue that if the NBA, MLS, and NASCAR can return, why shouldn’t college football? And I hear ya, but this is completely different.
College football at the highest level alone has 130 different teams. This is more than double the NBA and MLS combined. On top of that, there are more players and personnel required in football than there are in many other sports.
The sheer number of people involved makes any sort of fall NCAA football unacceptable. The only exception to this rule would be the emergence of a vaccine that would have to be administered beforehand. If we see gridiron action prior to vaccination, financial bottom lines have been prioritized over student health.
The purpose of collegiate athletics is to improve lives, not place them at risk. There is no way of controlling students from over 100 campuses in a “bubble” setting, as modeled by the professional leagues.
College sports, even when limited to in-conference action, involves regional travel at the bare minimum. If we’re looking at the Pac-12 schools, a football schedule would include flying teams from hotspots like Arizona and California, up to the Pacific Northwest, which could further the spread.
This is bigger than sports; this is life and death. I understand that people want to return to a sense of normalcy, but throwing kids into the proverbial fire isn’t the answer.
I think we all can agree that any sort of college football in the fall is tempting, but it’s also tempting the universe. For whatever reason, the coronavirus is here, and we must respect our new reality.
As much as we all would love to cheer on our respective schools from the sanctity of our red-leather couches, we’re not the ones putting our lives at risk.
It’s 18-year-old kids putting their lives at risk, and that’s something I can’t get behind.