Are college sports actually safe right now?

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 Ben Hall

Back in March, the NCAA originally postponed all sports. Soon after postponing, the NCAA announced that it would be canceling the rest of the season. At the time, I was quite frustrated and didn’t think that the NCAA should do this. I now know my opinion was terribly wrong. We are now six months after the Coronavirus first started, and the illness is still serious and having a bad impact on our country. So, after being angry at the NCAA for canceling sports months ago, I now am questioning them on if it’s actually safe for college sports to be played.

Players typically have to either test or go through the Coronavirus protocols prior to each practice. However, many players are hanging out together prior to practice so if one of them tests positive, the rest are likely to test positive as well. At a lot of these schools, students are forced to go to classes with other students who could be around someone who has it. I think students going to class is a huge risk as well. Some players have voiced their concerns, but some want to play as long as their safety is valued.

“I think it is safe as long as we’re staying consistent with testing,” Ursinus College sophomore wide receiver Dallas Evans said. Ursinus is an NCAA Division III school in the Centennial Conference. On July 7th, the Centennial Conference announced that they would not be having a fall football season.

“We start practice tomorrow,” Evans said. “All we’re going to be doing in practice is running routes and stuff like that. No team stuff or anything.”

For the conferences that have canceled, it seems that they are slowly beginning in-person practice. However, they aren’t doing anything with the full team.

The one thing that I think should be valued with these decisions is the players’ opinions. Numerous players have shared their views on social media after the season was postponed. Ohio State junior quarterback Justin Fields tweeted, “There’s been too much work put in!! #WeWantToPlay”.

I personally do not think it is safe for college sports to be played. However, I believe if the players want to play, then they should have that option. Since the Big Ten players spoke out against their conference canceling play, the conference announced that football would be starting again on October 24th.

What confuses me about the Big Ten’s decision is the fact that they announced they’d be postponing their season to the spring, but once they saw conferences like the ACC and Big 12 still playing, they decided to start their season in the fall.

This decision wasn’t made simply because the players wanted to play. It was made because they realized that other conferences weren’t going to pull out. Safety wise, nothing has changed in the past month.

Another argument that has been made is sports where athletes are naturally distanced such as swimming, long distance track, baseball, etc. should be allowed to play. These athletes tend to be six feet away from each other in the typical course of play. I think if you’re going to allow certain sports to run, then you should also allow the rest. These players will be within six feet of each other at some point regardless of the sport. From a safety standpoint, if someone at the event has the disease, it’s likely that someone else there gets it.

“As of right now, we are just practicing,” Garrett College freshman pitcher Dylan McCartney said. “But our season is set to go as planned once spring semester starts." Garrett College is an NJCAA Division II school in the Maryland Junior College Conference.

My belief is that sports are truly not safe to be played until we find a vaccine for this virus. However, I understand why athletes want to play and it makes sense that some of these organizations want to get started now. Playing a sport is the same as taking a trip to the grocery store in my opinion. So, if these athletes are willing to risk their health, they should be allowed to play the sport they love.

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