Column: Faculty soccer whiffs in tackling the coronavirus | The China Submit, Taiwan

When it came time to confront a global pandemic, we should’ve known college football would whiff on the tackle.

This flimsy collection of largely autonomous fiefdoms, each concerned mainly with hoarding wealth and power, was never going to make the right call against a fearsome opponent like the coronavirus.

Not this sport, which has always been perfectly content to rake in billions of dollars off the backs of unpaid laborers, poisoning our system of higher education by transforming campuses into no-wage professional franchises.

Those in charge followed their usual game plan when faced with a potentially deadly game of roulette.

They followed the money.

“We’re kind of undergoing a natural experiment to see what happens” was the ominous assessment of Cyrus Shahpar, director of the epidemic prevention team at Resolve to Save Lives, an organization that works with countries around the world in dealing with the outbreak of diseases.

“You’re going to get a lot of college athletes with COVID-19 infections,” Shahpar said, “and we don’t know the long-term impact of that.”

But without one body making one set of rules for everyone, college football carries on as a reckless Petri dish in the midst of a pandemic that already has claimed nearly 200,000 American lives.

A quick recap of the lowlights:

— The Big Ten, reversing course on its initially admirable decision to not play soccer this fall, now says it’s going to launch a hurried, eight-game season on Oct. 24. Whereas there was a lot posturing about this being a science-based choice, it was clear the convention was primarily involved about shedding floor to the Southeastern Convention and different leagues that did not comply with its lead.

— Talking of COVID-19 prefer it was nothing greater than the sniffles, coach Ed Orgeron of defending nationwide champion LSU casually dropped {that a} massive chunk of his roster has already been stricken with a virus that might have long-term well being ramifications we don’t but find out about. “Most of our gamers have caught it,” Orgeron stated. “I feel, hopefully, that when you catch it, you don’t get it once more.” Then, as if giving himself believable deniability, he added, “I’m not a physician.”

Georgia Southern went forward with its season opener towards Campbell regardless that 33 gamers — THIRTY-THREE! — weren’t in a position to play. The college wouldn’t reveal what number of of these gamers, which included seven starters, have been held out after being stricken with or uncovered to COVID-19.

— That lack of transparency was proper consistent with faculties across the nation which have handled optimistic exams very similar to state secrets and techniques. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley stated he wouldn’t be sharing his workforce’s COVID-19 check outcomes throughout the season as a result of it places the Sooners at “a aggressive drawback,” exhibiting precisely the place his priorities lie. A lot of his colleagues have taken the same method.

— The coronavirus already has forced the postponement of a number of video games simply a few weeks into the season, hardly a promising signal with faculties going through a restricted window of potential make-up dates and fears that the onset of flu season will result in a “twindemic” that makes it much more troublesome to maintain gamers wholesome.

Austin Peay most likely needs it had known as off its first recreation. Not one of the workforce’s three lengthy snappers have been in a position to play, so a linebacker tried to do the job. He botched a few snaps and the Governors misplaced on a last-minute rating.

The Huge Ten was the primary of the Energy 5 conferences to postpone the season till at the very least after the primary of the 12 months. The league anticipated the remainder of its brethren to comply with go well with, however with every convention free to do its personal factor, solely the Pac-12 got here alongside for the trip.

Wanting on enviously because the Southeastern Convention, Atlantic Coast Convention and Huge 12 carried on with plans for the season, the Huge Ten confronted the backlash of gamers, coaches and oldsters. Extra ominously, the league knew it’d take years to get well from the blow to its funds and recruiting efforts.

That was a analysis the league couldn’t settle for.

So, it’s recreation on!

“We’re in a greater place, no matter how we received right here or how painful it was throughout the time we waited to get this second,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith stated after the choice Wednesday. “That’s all behind us. What’s stunning is that we’ve a course of and protocols in place that’s primarily based on science and primarily based on classes discovered since Aug. 11,” when the league initially voted to not play within the fall.

By some means, a mere 36 days later, the Huge Ten discovered a miracle treatment for all its considerations. Most assuredly, it got here wrapped in greenback indicators.

“The underside line is we’re going to play soccer,” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez stated gleefully.

In apparently unrelated information, Big Ten school Penn State introduced that the whole variety of COVID-19 instances on its campus has climbed to 1,146.

Whereas the Huge Ten’s choice got here with some rigorous testing pointers, that doesn’t apply to the remainder of the scholar physique. And therein lies the insanity of enjoying school soccer throughout a pandemic, on campuses which might be teeming with non-football-playing college students who don’t have coaches, trainers and teammates monitoring their each transfer.

“Even with faculties which have had points … I’ve not heard of any positives happening inside athletic amenities or as a part of athletic actions,” stated Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury, whose workforce will play its second recreation Saturday towards Central Florida. “The problem is exterior of our so-called managed bubble.”

These points aren’t more likely to get any higher.

However school soccer has made its name.

The improper one, as regular.


Paul Newberry is a sports activities columnist for The Related Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at) or at His work could be discovered at


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