Could the SEC along with UGA football be the next to cancel the football season? Probably not if you look at the facts.
COVID-19 is threatening to end the UGA football season before it even gets started, despite the revised schedule being released.
The question is, do the numbers really justify shutting down the football season? According to the CDC, those who are age18-29 are at the lowest risk for hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. In fact, elementary school and middle school students are at a higher risk than college students.
These young adults are in or close to the prime of their lives with the strongest immune systems of any other age group on the chart. Also, to add to this, most college students stay on campus or in off-campus housing and will not come in contact with any of the higher risk age groups. In fact, only 20-percent of college students live with their parents.
If football players agreed to stay on campus, just for this year, they would also cut down on the spread to higher risk age groups.
The other hot button topic is myocarditis which is an inflammation in the heart that rarely happens when a person contracts a virus, not just COVID-19, any virus. Myocarditis has been around for a very long time and is not new to COVID-19. In fact, UGA football has already been screening its athletes for myocarditis before this year.
Myocarditis is not a death sentence. In fact, if an athlete does get the condition they will most likely only be away from participating for a month.
Here is a snippet from an article written by Joe Kinsey of OutKick.com:
7) Why after six months of prevalence in the USA is the heart issue only to come to light now?
Big Ten: We always were aware of myocarditis risk but a key study published just two weeks ago in the major medical publication Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) alerts us that a whopping 78% of patients had myocardial inflammation. This study can’t be ignored.
SEC: Yes, we read JAMA too but that study involved patients whose youngest age was 45, used cardiac MRI and was only an imaging study. In other words, it was a much older demographic with MRI findings of questionable clinical significance.
As you can see the study has nothing to do with the effects of myocarditis on college students or those even close to the age of college students.
Here is a tweet from University of Michigan Cardiologist, Dr. Venk Murthy directly responding to the study:
So why was this study used by the Big 10 commissioner when deciding to end fall sports? If those falling in the 18-29 age group aren’t in the high-risk group for COVID-19, myocarditis already existed, and there is no concrete evidence that college students are at risk to get myocarditis why did the Big 10 and Pac-12 cancel their seasons?
Here is what Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big 10 said on the canceling of fall sports, per MLive.com:
We just believe collectively there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports. We take this responsibility seriously and I will continually do everything in my power to make sure we put our student-athletes in a position to be empowered and elevated.
Wait, you can’t encourage your student-athletes to participate in fall sports, but you are allowing intramurals on campus this fall, according to an article by Clay Travis.
Not only is Warren allowing intramurals on campus this fall he is also allowing his own son to play football for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
This is the kind of doublespeak that has been rampant when talking about COVID-19 from the beginning. So this comes as no surprise.
If that isn’t enough, there has been a suggestion of playing football in the spring. Wouldn’t that do away with the idea that canceling fall sports was about the players’ health as you would now be asking fall athletes to compete in two seasons in less than 10 months?
Former Alabama QB Greg McElroy had this to say about the suggested plan:
How is putting the players through the physical stress of 18-22 games in the span of 10 months considering their health?
That isn’t the only concern about a spring season though. John Theus brought up some very good questions to Anthony Dasher about playing in the spring.
Dasher asked a few former UGA football players how they felt about a spring season. This is what Theus had to say:
“What if you’re a junior who balls out in the spring? Can he leave early and go to the NFL after the spring season, or is he stuck at college for the 2021 season now?” Theus asked. “Could early enrollees play in the spring season? To me, there are a lot of questions to answer with that plan.”
So not only would you be putting the athletes’ bodies in jeopardy, but you would also put their futures in question. Overall the idea of playing in the spring makes absolutely no sense. It can’t be allowed to be done.
The NCAA has made it clear that students can also opt-out of the season and maintain their scholarship. So any athlete that doesn’t feel safe to play can choose not to, but also keep their scholarship and eligibility.
That said, a lot of athletes, led by Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, took to Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPlay showing that athletes not only want the chance to opt-out, but also a voice in if they can play.
In conclusion, according to all the data, there is no reason not to play a football season this fall. Absolutely none. If the commissioner of the Big 10 sees it safe enough for his own son to play then it should be safe enough for anyone. As long as the teams can adhere to the CDC’s protocols put in place and the athletes are constantly tested there should be football this fall.
Will there be? That remains to be seen. As of now the SEC, Big 12, and ACC all plan on it. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, football should return, at least in the south, this fall. Hopefully, it will and help end the year 2020 on a positive note.