With certain states and cities currently ‘re-opening’ at different times throughout the United States, it’s created quite the debate when it comes to universities and when students, and specifically student-athletes, should be welcomed back to campus.
Everyone wants to see the 2020 college football season start as scheduled this fall, but with all of the uncertainties still out there, it’s tough to predict the future two days from now, let alone a couple of months from now, when it comes to the status of the virus.
Plus, with the California State University system already announcing that their campuses will mostly be student-free this fall, some believe that’s just the first domino of many yet to fall. Honestly, California as a whole is operating differently than the other 49 states around the country and really could play the biggest role in whether or not we see a ‘normal’ college football season or not.
With all of that being said, the SEC’s 14 presidents are set to vote on whether to bring back student-athletes to campus as soon as June 1. The majority of SEC football fans out there would love to see student-athletes return to campus on June 1 if the higher-ups say it’s safe, myself included, but Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley doesn’t share that same opinion.
Riley told reporters on Wednesday that the SEC’s plan for athletes to return to campus on June 1 is “one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.”
“Every day early that we bring them in is a day we could have gotten better,” Riley said. “It’s a day we could have learned more about the virus. It’s a day PPE maybe gets better. It’s a day closer to a vaccine. It’s a day that our testing equipment and testing capabilities get better. And it’s just not worth it. So we’ve got to be patient. We get one shot at this, and we’ve got to do it right.”
It’s clear that Riley is in no real rush to get his players back on campus and get to work for the upcoming season, whenever that may be. It’s worth noting that practically every type of business in Oklahoma, outside of bars, has been given the option to re-open since April 24 with social distancing practices encouraged.
Available and efficient testing seems to continue to be the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to any sport getting back into the swing of things.
It will be interesting to see whether Riley sticks to his sentiment here if the SEC does actually welcome student-athletes to campus in early June. Whenever that first major program gives that green light to its athletes it’s safe to assume other schools will follow.