NCAA Is Showing Its Hand By Allowing Football, Basketball Athletes On Campus
There is something fishy going on with the NCAA, what else is new?
Profit over safety?
The NCAA said it is allowing schools to start voluntary workouts on June 1 for some sports with football plus men’s and women’s basketball. This seems great on the surface but as per usual with the NCAA, there is something odd going on with allowing those three sports on campus.
Of the sports that make sense of the three to return to campus it is football because it is a fall sport. So, why are winter sports basketball being allowed on campus when other fall sports soccer, men’s water polo, cross country, field hockey, and women’s volleyball?
Pardon my cynicism, but the obvious reason is money and those are revenue-making sports for colleges. Well, women’s basketball is not always a money-maker but at some schools, they can earn cash and do not need money from football to cover those costs.
It would make sense that if it was safe for football athletes on campus others could be allowed back as well, specifically the fall sports that are non-contact like cross-country.
Yet, football is what is coming back first. Money is a huge issue because football pays for basically every other sport and there are reports that college football could lose around $4 billion if the season is canceled.
The season will not be canceled as it will be adjusted to get in as many games and as many fans in the stands. There will be a loss of money but it depends how much and how many fans are in the stands.
So, the push for heading back to campus does have a motive.
Such concerns have been erroneously dismissed…by the claim that, because athletes are young and ostensibly healthy, they are largely immune from the most severe symptoms and effects of COVID-19. This misconception needs to be addressed and eradicated if we mean to have an honest discussion regarding the potential harms to college athletes from premature return to play. College athletes, particularly football players, have multiple comorbidities that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), place them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Further, prevalent socioeconomic factors place college football athletes at greater risk of COVID-19.
It should be abundantly clear that the implication that because college football players are relatively young, they are at lower risk from COVID-19 is incorrect for at least certain subgroups such as linemen. Given that football is a collision sport, players are in close proximity to one another throughout a football game and would surely risk exposure from an infected player. Such apparently inconvenient findings muster nary a mention in the rush to open the gates to fall football. However, university administrators appear keenly aware of the risks involved with bringing students back on campus and have begun lobbying for protection from liability.
If done right this might work but testing needs to be around and the SEC is currently only looking at testing players with symptoms. That is a big issue because those who have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic can spread to more people because they would not be subject to quarantine.
To do this right everyone needs to be tested, and yet it costs money and can be expensive, however testing everyone constantly will be able to keep college football going and the money that comes with it. Plus, it will provide more safety for the team and the community, specifically, the older coaches that are part of the team, and that is why everyone needs to be tested.
The main point that is why are sports that make money back on campus first before other sports? The answer is easy and circles back to money that these schools could lose. They want to use these programs, specifically football, to know if it can be done safely.
The positives from this could mean that it would be able to provide a blueprint for students and other sports to return to campus, but only if done the right way.