I love football, especially college football. There is nothing more I’d like to do in the fall then watch football all weekend. I’m sure millions of American’s are with me on this one.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic might have other plans. More than 5-million Americans have been personally affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Not only that, but according to the CDC, there are greater than 48,000 new COVID-19 cases as of August 11, 2020. Rightfully so, the NCAA has already delayed the commencement of the upcoming Fall season up until Sept. 26. Is this enough?
With these mind-boggling stats in mind, many people have pushed to have the season completely canceled. On August 11, 2020, presidents of the Power 5 conference are expected to meet to potentially post-pone fall sports.
Is this the right decision?
5 reasons the NCAA should consider canceling the upcoming football season.
1. No training camp will lead to loads of injuries.
Football as a sport is dangerous enough as it is. Imagine launching hundreds of football athletes into a season without an adequate training camp? This is ludicrous. From my experience of playing college football in Canada, you need a training camp to get into “football shape”.
No, I’m not talking about bench press competitions here. I’m talking about getting used to being hit, running Oklahoma drills, rapid changes of directions, 7 on 7s, etc. Training camp is where you simulate game speed.
Look at the NCAA data (albeit from 2005–2009 seasons), the preseason always has the highest injury rate (9.7 per 1,000 athlete exposures) compared with in-season (7.5) and the postseason (4.2). These data are with training camp. Disregard training camp, and that injury rate will skyrocket.
2. Impossible to eliminate travel.
It will be near impossible to eliminate travel in the upcoming NCAA football season. You need to travel from state to state to play games. I don’t see any other alternative other than to try and organize “hub cities” with quarantining and vigorous testing, similar to the National Hockey League. This would be a logistical nightmare. On top of that, aren’t these student-athletes? They aren’t getting paid like the pros.
3. Impossible to eliminate exposure to the coronavirus.
If it’s impossible to eliminate travel to and from games in different states, how will you eliminate exposure to the coronavirus? Not only that but for those who may still be unaware, COVID-19 spreads via liquid droplet. Football is a liquid-droplet spreading haven.
It will be nearly impossible to eliminate exposure. If the NCAA is full go, COVID-19 will continue to infect people all over the United States. Look at the NFL, there are several players on the COVID-19 list. This is with “strict COVID-19 rules” and guidelines that the NFL has put into place. The NCAA needs to consider the health and safety of the players, coaches, and football staff.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells CNN back in June “Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”
Will the NCAA implement vigorous testing requires, similar to other sports leagues?
4. How will the NCAA enforce social-distancing measures in team facilities?
It will be near-impossible to enforce social-distancing in team facilities. Football is a large team sport. You are cramming more than 100 guys on a football field, dressing rooms, athletic therapy, and eating halls. Yikes, good luck with enforcing social-distancing rules.
5. How will the NCAA enforce social-distancing measures outside of team facilities?
In the NCAA, there’s a rule where you can only conduct team athletic activities for 20/hours per week. This equates to about 3 hours per day. What about the remaining hours? Obviously, the student-athletes will want to spend time outside of team facilities, interacting with members of the community, with friends, in class (if there are any), etc. Are these members of the community are being tested vigorously? I doubt it.
Will the NCAA enforce strict daily testing requirements to ensure that players aren’t being exposed to or exposing COVID-19?
At the end of the day, it’s time the NCAA makes the right choice. Think of players, coaches and staff, and community health and safety and suspend the upcoming fall season.