With 5.1 million confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 163,000 dead from the disease, Republicans are still not taking measures to save lives or prevent further spread. Along with pushing for churches and schools to be opened, several members of the GOP are now also demanding a return to normalcy regarding professional and collegiate sports, with a heavy focus on college football, always a huge moneymaker for both universities and their boosters.
Even as new reports emerge on how younger people are impacted by COVID19 , the GOP are remaining on their message that children must return to school despite new outbreaks in Georgia and other Southern states. Colleges and universities are struggling with the decision to reopen their campuses amid housing issues and other safety concerns; added pressure to resume their football programs from rich alumni and prominent political figures only increases the stress on administrators.
Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Marco Rubio of Florida and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia — as well as Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan — also pressed for the show to go on, while a growing number of conferences, schools and two of the NCAA’s three divisions have already upended their seasons or canceled competitions.
“This is a moment for leadership,” Sasse wrote in a letter to the Big Ten Conference, one of college sports’ five wealthiest and most powerful institutions. “These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”
Donald Trump added his own fuel to the fire, tweeting that college players “deserve” to get back to the field. “”The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled!” he tweeted.
While some might posit that playing football isn’t nearly as important as protecting the lives of the students, coaches, and other employees, there are other factors to be considered. “People need to understand the carnage and aftermath of what college athletics looks like if we don’t play,” Nebraska football coach Scott Frost said at a press conference. “This isn’t as simple as canceling a Little League game and picking up and playing the next Saturday. There’s a lot of effects to our states, to our communities, to our universities, to our athletic departments, to other sports, to people’s employment and jobs. This is a huge decision.”
Those ramifications didn’t stop other schools from making that same decision, however. “We concluded that the season — including travel and competition — posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” Old Dominion University President John Broderick said.