As college football is now deep into its coronavirus-shortened season, it’s too late to put on the brakes. Handling a sport that involves large groups of players and coaches in close quarters, traveling and physically colliding with each other has been something of a roller coaster.
In the Big 10, Wisconsin missed games earlier in the season when more than 20 players and coaches tested positive. Clemson quarterback, Heisman candidate and likely top NFL prospect Trevor Lawrence missed crucial games after testing positive and suffering some symptoms of the virus.
Nick Saban, head coach of the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, tested positive for the virus early in the season, but managed to coach a game that weekend. Last week, Saban contracted COVID-19 and is reportedly suffering from mild symptoms. The Southeastern Conference has had weekends where only about half of the games scheduled were played because of the virus.
These things were bound to happen once the decision to play was made, even with no or limited numbers of fans permitted at the games. Similar, although more isolated, delays have occurred in the NFL because of outbreaks..
Certainly, things could have been worse. Of course, with more than a month of college football to go and two months of NFL games remaining, the worst could still happen.
And more sports are starting to enter the mix.
The question remains whether playing football — at any level — was the right thing to do. No one will really know until all the seasons have wrapped, and there’s been some time to get perspective and look at the situation as a whole. It’s doubtful it could’ve been handled any better than it has at the collegiate and professional levels. Whether the health risk was acceptable to justify play in the first place is moot right now, and ultimately will be judged by history.
An editorial from The Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia.