On Thursday, the Big Ten became the first major college football conference to announce that it would play division-only games this upcoming fall. Other football conferences are following suit, or are expected to next week.
The Ivy League seems to be the only league that is being intellectually honest with the announcement of no fall sports until January 2021 - at the earliest.
College football fans should not be looking at the Big Ten’s announcement as any type of firm commitment to football, but rather a tactic to delay the inevitable - an announcement of no college football this fall.
With COVID-19 raging in other parts of the country and numbers starting to climb again in the northeast, it doesn’t look good for college sports. Many programs in the south are halting voluntary summer workouts due to huge COVID-19 cases amongst athletes. In the Big Ten, Ohio State was forced to halt their summer program. With Rutgers going largely remote in the fall, it’s a little hard to envision the University fielding a football program this fall.
COVID-19 will be a hard beast to tame in the fall. Case numbers are already on the rise and will continue to rise throughout the summer. Universities have no imaginative plans to reduce the risk for students. And even worse, Universities are failing to partner with the surrounding communities to help promote practices to limit the spread of the disease. One only needs to take a look at State College this weekend as out-of-town students and new alumni packed the bars and partied like it was 2019 to see the enormous struggle we face in front of us.
The struggle is real. We have lots of people wishfully thinking that the warm weather will kill the virus (it doesn’t), believing that COVID-19 is a conspiracy (it isn’t), thinking they’re immune to the worst effects of the virus (they likely aren’t), and fetishizng some weird fucked-up sense of freedom in order to not wear masks.
In a move of desperation, athletic heads, football coaches, and players are desperately now asking the public to wear masks and practice social distancing if they want to see any chance of sports in the fall.
Strange times indeed.
In other news, they played baseball in Taiwan this weekend - in front of 10,000 fans. It turns out taking the pandemic seriously worked out pretty well for Taiwan.
I take no glee in writing this post. I hope to see college football in 2020. But me? I’m starting to look at the 2021 Nittany Lions.