All of the sports leagues that determined the world had reached a point where it was safe for teams to reassemble and gear up for the meaningful games we’ve been deprived of for what feels like an eternity took great care to institute measures to prevent players from getting sick and a grand total of zero of them ended up being successful in achieving that goal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were forced to shut down their facilities when three players tested positive for COVID-19 a little over a week after they got the boys back together, the Denver Nuggets ended up following suit over the weekend courtesy of a couple of confirmed cases, and the Kansas State football team is still riding things out after opting to suspend summer workouts for a couple of weeks after 14 players suffered the same fate.
However, that number pales in comparison to the 37 members of the Clemson Tigers who’ve been sidelined over the past month (a number that will almost undoubtedly continue to rise). However, that hasn’t stopped the team from adopting the “play through the pain” mentality that’s engrained in the culture of the sport and there are plenty of other schools rocking double-digit infections who also haven’t seen the need to hit the pause button.
Last week, I addressed the harsh reality that there’s a very real chance there won’t be a college football season this year, and based on what’s transpired since then, I’m leaning toward upgrading that to “incredibly likely” based on current trends.
However, during my recent travels through College Football Twitter and the internet cesspools that are message boards devoted to the sport, there are sooooo many people out there who could care less about the risks unpaid student-athletes will almost certainly be subjected to if the season goes on as planned—many of whom seem to have no idea how they’ll be able to function in the absence of a sport they seem to literally live and breath for.
Now, we can add one more piece of evidence to the “This Is A Terrible Fucking Idea” column courtesy of Dr. Sheldon Jacobson, a highly-decorated computer science professor at the University of Illinois with a specialty in constructing models designed to predict the impact various threats could have on public health.
According to CBS Sports, Jacobson decided to examine what may happen if the NCAA insists on having teams play this year and the numbers he’s provided are absolutely staggering. He says he expects 30-50% of players (approximately 3,900-6,500) could become infected and anticipates at least three of them will fucking die, going on to say as many as seven could suffer that fate (he predicts linemen are most likely to add to the number of overall fatalities based on evidence that shows obesity is linked with a higher susceptibility to the effects of coronavirus).
So yeah, this seems like it can only end poorly, but at the same time, plenty of athletic programs could end up in borderline poverty without the revenue football generates so I guess we’ll see if the NCAA decides you can indeed put a price on human lives.