by Jack Belanger ’21
After colleges across the country canceled the end of their winter and spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many senior athletes missed out on what would have been their final season of collegiate competitive sports. Basketball players who were on their way to play in March Madness lost their last chance to win a national title; spring athletes lost the chance to celebrate their final home game. It was difficult for many athletes to face the cancellation of their season after putting in countless hours of work. The NCAA should not put the same burden on football players and allow them to play this fall.
College football is the most profitable sport at many universities and many schools need the revenue in order to pay for athletic scholarships. Even though stadiums would not be able to sell out their seating to fans, schools could still make money from broadcasting their games and fulfilling their TV deals. The pandemic has already tightened athletic department budgets across the country and many schools have had to cut sports that do not generate any revenue. By having football games this fall, universities would be able to help fund other sports that may have had their season canceled and support other athletes.
While there may be safety concerns about having players travel and face teams from other schools, teams have been testing their players on a consistent basis and the NCAA has laid out a plan for teams to follow in order to proceed with the season. If the athletes are truly committed to playing out their final collegiate season, then they would have to follow the rules laid out for them to avoid any unnecessary risks that could ruin the season. By participating in regular practices and games, players would create a bubble for themselves since they would essentially be interacting with the same people on a daily basis.
Playing out the season is just as important for underclassmen as it is for seniors. For the players who are eligible for the next NFL draft, playing games is really the only way for them to get noticed by NFL teams and have a chance to continue their careers at the next level. Without a season, NFL teams could only judge players based on their performances from last season and the draft combine, neither of which can solely represent a player’s abilities accurately.
There are multiple parties who would benefit from having a college football season for a variety of reasons. Not only do players want to compete in the sport they put so much work into, especially the seniors who may be playing their final season, but the athletics directors want to bring in any revenue they can to make up for the lost profits from the cancellation of March Madness and spring sports. Yes, there may be some risk involved, but with the proper rules put in place, college football teams should be able to play out their seasons safely.
by Liam Tormey ’22
In times such as these, it seems almost insensitive to believe the upcoming college football season should occur. The threat of COVID-19 is real, both to college campuses and the surrounding communities. College football should not happen this year for the safety of all.
To begin, one should look at the fact that many other college sports will not be competing for the remainder of the calendar year. Universities are going to be missing out on the likes of soccer, volleyball, cross country, and field hockey this semester. To give football the chance to play while other sports will not be given that same chance seems rather unfair.
Many of the other canceled sports are hoping to play in the spring semester, which begs the question: why are some schools in such a rush to be playing football at this moment? Athletic directors will say that postponing this football season to the spring, just a couple of months before next season’s restart, will not work. That may be true, but we find ourselves in a time when no one should be taking massive risks that can put people in danger, no matter how inconvenient it is.
College football, with a few exceptions, is currently set to be played across the country in one way or another this fall. The two major exceptions to this trend are the Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences. Despite holding some of the most well-known college football teams in the country, these conferences have decided to suspend their seasons. Although they have received backlash, it is the right decision. The country has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic, and any further setbacks should be avoided at all costs. The sheer number of players on a given football team should be reason enough for no college football this year.
A lot has been sacrificed to maintain some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy. Some universities have already shifted to online learning. owever, these same schools want to be playing football soon. This is not only selfish, but a clear money grab. Essential workers have worked so hard to keep this country afloat. Can we really say that young college football players are essential workers right now? Maybe they could be considered as such for the universities where these players are generating millions of dollars, but not for a country that needs everyone to continue to make smart and safe choices.