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Football 2020 Looks Like a Lost Cause

July 11th, 2020 · No Comments · College football, coronavirus, Football, NFL

The dominoes are falling now. Nearly every day over the past two weeks has brought news of some other school or conference or league announcing reduced schedules, with the reductions going all the way down to not playing football this season. At all.

Back in the spring, noted U.S. immunologist Anthony Fauci was asked about the chances of playing football during a pandemic.

He said football was particularly at risk against Covid-19 because of the collisions and heavy breathing and flying aerosols that are ever-present in the game. Football does not lend itself to “social distancing”. To say the least.

–College football has its own challenges, and one of the most significant is creating an environment where upwards of 100 players dress out every Saturday, especially if sports (especially football) are played while the scholastic side of colleges and universities appear headed toward a semester of online school.

–The superintendent of Dallas schools a few days ago said high school football is unlikely to be played in his jurisdiction this fall. And Texas is the citadel of prep football. If they don’t play, who will?

“That’s a true contact sport, I don’t see how we can pull that off,” Michael Hinojosa told, a local media outlet. “There’s been some discussion of moving it to the spring, but we’ll have to wait and see. … I seriously doubt that we can pull that off.”

–A bigger national story was the Ivy League, a few days earlier, canceling all fall sports. Harvard, Yale, Princeton … none of them will play football — or anything else — before the new year.

–The professionals in the NFL continue to behave as if their season will begin and finish, but players are getting skittish about their safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the “optics” of attempting to play while the U.S. is in the throes of a coronavirus surge are unflattering.

The NFL is the nation’s most popular sports league, and at the moment it appears to be banking on a sudden and dramatic decline in new Covid cases. This, at a time when cases are rising in many states, including Florida and California.

Granted, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association are gearing up to resume play, after long breaks, but they also are running into day-to-day issues that must be solved in a unprecedented sports environment. Only a brave (or deluded) soul would insist that both will be able to deliver on plans to finish off their abbreviated schedules.

As for high schools, no one much is talking about sports there because educators, rightly, are focusing on finding ways to get the most kids into the most classrooms — all the while keeping in mind the safety of students and teachers.

All sports, including football, ultimately are irrelevant when a pandemic is sickening and killing tens of thousands of Americans, and when simply staging football (or other sports) can put at greater risk everyone we know and love.

It is an easy call, and look for more administrators to make it, in the coming weeks. We want to see football, we would like to see rising seniors revel in their final seasons … but not with the risks built into the game.

Football in 2021? Maybe. But no sooner than that.


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