All Rights Reserved. The truth is that college football during a pandemic, with all its racialized exploitation, injustice, and harm, is exactly what normal looks like in the United States of America. “I have always said that the only thing you can take to Heaven with you Is your kids, and for 71 years of marriage, Ann and I have tried to live our lives and share our Christian Faith with them so that one day we will all be there together.”, “But until that time, we are here on earth, and America Is the greatest country this side of heaven. That’s a shame. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a. This is not lost on the players forced to work under threat of the virus. ", "You bring a group of 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 students together who like to party and mingle -- even with all the protocols for social distancing -- you're going to have a lot of infections," Jacobson said. As one unidentified SEC official told player representatives on a private call: “We’re going to have cases on every single team in the SEC. Jacobson added that the population football players would be "better taken care of. On October 17th, Mullen himself then tested positive for the virus. A closer look at the experiences of players both this summer and fall paints an alarming picture. Around May, he recalls being told in a meeting by a coach that if he didn’t “consent to be a participant in an ongoing study” that “we would be setback as individuals for what could be weeks, a setback which they directly said could affect our playing time”. “If there was organized and mandatory football events going on and they held out because of fears of Covid-19 that there would be no repercussions … in terms of losing reps, losing playing time, things of that nature,” he said. The coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the college sports landscape, leaving many questions unanswered. What you’re seeing and hearing on TV isn’t the whole story. Former #FSU head coach Bobby Bowden has released a statement on beating COVID-19:, — Logan B. Robinson (@LogansTwitty) October 21, 2020. However, it is difficult to take the conferences’ safety claims at face value. He told me verbatim, that ‘there is no way I could go through a whole practice much less a game within three weeks. After having his concerns ignored and downplayed, that player elected to “boycott” workouts and was planning to opt out of the season. Covering the impact of coronavirus on the sports world. Yet, if you look closely, what you see is that universities are right now subjecting unpaid athletic workers to precisely the same health risks that are eliciting such outrage every day on network television and social media. Other schools have already begun to cancel spring practices and games, as well as classes themselves, and the odds are high that these will not be the final games canceled in the coming days. One Power Five college football player, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, explained it this way: “I mean the whole goal is to make everyone feel like things are normal, which they definitely aren’t. It looks and feels good to watch football again, but it doesn’t mean everything occurring behind the scenes is being done right. Another player revealed that the issue of eligibility is particularly weighing on the minds of players considering whether to opt out of the season. A recent University of Washington study showed a 1.3% mortality rate for those with COVID-19 symptoms. Everybody knows everybody in the coaching industry, and all it takes is one call for your chances to be ruined at a potential program [unless you’re a star].”. This shit breaks down your body.’”. "The Pac-12 shares in the Holiday Bowl's disappointment that the current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of this year's game," the Pac-12 said in a statement. In order to enforce these freedoms, players demanded “third-party health officials in charge of overseeing and enforcing health and safety guidelines,” “whistleblower protections provided for athletes and staff”, and the “ability to make decisions with regard to personal health without consequences in terms of loss of scholarship or retaliation from coaches in any form”. section: | slug: coronavirus-in-college-football-hospitalizations-deaths-projected-by-data-analysts-if-fbs-plays-in | sport: collegefootball | route: | And yet, every day seems to bring more news of health crises amid college football programs. As he put it, after opting out of the season: “I am not allowed to be involved in any team activities. He stressed those numbers could change. Bowden, 91, was admitted to the hospital earlier this month after testing positive for the coronavirus and experiencing symptoms. One told us a teammate who tested positive has complained about how much his lungs hurt. Despite these reservations and following what appears to be a trend in the National Football League, we have seen a number of college athletes opt out of the upcoming season citing the unknown risks that Covid-19 presents to their health. Because, despite the genuine concern initially offered this summer at the prospect of playing college football in the context of a global health crisis, somehow here we are, college football on the television and in the stadiums, and no one seemingly batting an eyelash. "If it's the starting quarterback for Alabama, that's going to get a different level of attention than a third-string safety at Illinois," Jacobson said. Obviously, not everyone has been tested. Oklahoma Football Coach Lincoln Riley has reportedly indicated that he will not disclose infections to gain a competitive advantage over opponents. For instance, in September, BYU linebacker Zayne Anderson told The Salt Lake Tribune, “If someone were to get tested, you kind of know the guys that have had it and stay away from some of the guys that might be out and about all the time, but they’re pretty discreet in keeping their privacy of who has it and who doesn’t. That organization, known as Pac-12 Football Unity, planned to boycott all “fall camps and football games” until they receive a “written contract with the Pac-12 that legally ensures [they] are offered “safe play during Covid-19”, assurances against “racial injustice”, “economic rights & fair compensation”, protection for “all sports”, and “long-term health insurance”. If you opt out, you’re not with us.”, Players have reported to us about not knowing if there are cases on their teams. “Most of you know I’m 91 years old, and the fight was tough. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic started a few months ago, most of the talk in the college sports space has centered around beginnings. the entire Michigan State football program. When players directly asked coaches for assurances that they could get an additional year of eligibility if they sat out despite having already redshirted, they were told that no such assurances could be provided. Dr. Sheldon Jacobson told CBS Sports he expects a 30%-50% infection rate of the approximately 13,000 players competing in FBS this season. ... A pylon stands in the corner of an end zone at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before an NCAA college football game between … 6-keys: media/spln/collegefootball/reg/free/stories, at Yet, when the Big Ten elected to reverse its initial decision to cancel the season due to health risks, they cited confidence in their ability to produce safe playing conditions. Johanna Mellis is assistant professor of history at Ursinus College. For too long now, politicians in Washington have run America down and apologized for our greatness. When can we hug and hold college football again? Similarly concerning is the weaponization of virus disclosure as a feature of competition. Even the vaunted Southeastern Conference has admitted behind closed doors that it cannot protect players from Covid-19. It is the second Pac-12-affiliated bowl to announce it would not be played this year, joining the Redbox Bowl -- played in Santa Clara, California -- which made its announcement in July. It is an opportunity either to build racial justice and well-being, or to double down on avarice and harm. “There have been talks of boycotting or striking,” he said. In response, they declared, “We as a football community assert our right to protect, preserve, and make decisions with regard to our own personal health and safety and now demand that we are able to do so without consequence in terms of reduction, or cancellation of scholarship benefits, or retaliation from coaches and faculty in any shape or form.”.