It’s been almost eleven months since the end of the 2019-2020 NCAA Football season. Fans would not ever expect what’s happened since: A pandemic, cancelling sports, spring and fall alike. Although almost all major professional sports have resumed, many major NCAA programs have still held out due to COVID-19 concerns, including the PAC-12 and the Big 10. The Big 10 has returned, however, should they? And, how can each team ensure safety?
Back in August, the Big 10 commissioners voted 11-3 to postpone the season. This raised outcry among fans and media. Speculation arose around Nebraska leaving the Big 10 due to the decision. Countless parents protested for their sons to have a season. Big 10 players started online petitions to play. The debate has still continued for four months now.
As conflicting arguments still clash to this day whether to play or not, today on Oct. 24, the Big 10 will resume play. This, in my opinion, is a terrible decision. About a week ago, the SEC had an outbreak (predictable to say in the least), after about six or seven weeks of play. Some stadiums even have fans. Some allow fans to tailgate outside the stadium. Either way, the SEC is doing it completely all wrong.
My big concern is that the Big 10 will do what the SEC is doing. The SEC is like a toddler that just won’t listen. As cases go up around the U.S, in the SEC more and more players, fans, administrators, coaches, etc. continue to keep getting sick from COVID. The SEC Administration hasn’t done anything to protect their staffers as well. Mask mandates only do so much until other protocol is necessary.
And this is why the Big 10 shouldn’t. The NCAA is allowing conferences and programs to not look after their players and personnel’s health. The Big 10 currently is putting in good policies for COVID-19 protection, but is it enough to ensure safety no matter what?
Short answer would obviously be nothing is enough, but for what we have, this is rather substantial. The Big 10 has stressed the importance of player and personnel safety on and off the field, so I would have to believe their policies will be strong, or at the least subsequently better than the SEC’s protocols. Even though they still shouldn’t play in my humble opinion, when they do, the Big 10 is probably one of the more trustworthy conferences at least compared to the SEC and ACC.
The Big 10 has had time to prepare, observe the failures of the SEC, plan out protocol, and so forth. However, if they wanted to maximize their player safety, they shouldn’t have a season.