Administrators Fearful For CFB Season After Recent Case Surges
A current of "uncertainty is rippling through college athletics" following surges in positive tests at schools and around the country, the fear among administrators of not playing football in the fall has "emerged stronger than at any point in the last month," according to Pete Thamel of YAHOO SPORTS. One source "summed up the tenor as one of 'overall discouragement.'" Another source said there has been “more pessimism the last few days than in weeks.” The source added that the negative feelings have "transcended athletics, as college presidents are again concerned about the prospect of in-person classes being held." Thamel wrote the past few weeks have "reaffirmed the lack of a consistent national plan, the economic disparities for medical equipment among the FBS schools and the amount of overall difficulties in executing a season." One AD said, “I’m way less convinced we will play (football) than I was a few weeks ago." The ADs that "appear at the biggest disadvantage managing the virus are those at schools that cannot afford consistent and widespread testing." One Group of Five AD said that they have "budgeted a half-million dollars for testing." ADs at wealthier schools have "committed up to" $2M. Thamel: "The most uncomfortable subject for administrators and coaches is the potential death of a player" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/20).
MAMMOTH UNDERTAKING: In St. Louis, Ben Frederickson writes in terms of the intricacies involved in staging a season amid the current pandemic, college football "wins most complicated, no contest." The "size of the teams and the physical nature of the game make spreading the virus more likely" and the season’s "high point coincides with the time frame medical experts fear another spike could arrive." Frederickson: "The massive pressure on athletics departments to salvage as much profit as possible from their top revenue producing sport will be sure to clash with a hypocrisy that is harder to ignore than ever before, the constant reminder that the players risking their health are unpaid student athletes who, unlike their professional peers, have little to no leverage when it comes to negotiating the terms of their return" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/22). In Houston, Jerome Solomon wrote fans should "not expect to join thousands in a college football stadium in early September." The coronavirus "simply won’t allow it." Solomon: "What has happened with athletes in the last two weeks makes one wonder what will happen when the remaining athletes and students are welcomed back on campus? Remember, most college athletes aren’t on campus right now" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/21).