Alabama COVID-19 Situation Suggests College Football Not Ready to Do Basic Blocking and Tackling

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At least five Alabama football players have tested positive for COVID-19 because the virus is still very much active and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Here is the order in which things played out. See if you can spot anything problematic.

Now, I am not a public health expert and, odds are, neither are you. But if we put our heads together, surely we can change the order of operations on this stuff. Perhaps waiting to get test results before engaging in a large group practice would be preferable. That way, those who test positive can be sidelined and not spread germs to, say, 45 additional members of the roster who, in accordance with best practices, should quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Managing the inevitable outbreaks that will take place on college campuses when students return is going to be a challenge. The Wall Street Journal has a fairly thorough piece on what needs to be done and how various schools plan on doing it. Yet a ton of questions remain.

Though this Alabama practice was not official, it's a prime example of the holes that can appear in the safety net at any time. It's worth asking how possible it is to guard against situations that will create responsible self-quarantine. And if the competitive goals will win out over the health ones.

Maybe it is. Maybe what happened with the Tide is an outlier event. Maybe it's easy to see the screwed-up timeline here and adjust down the road. Or maybe it's but a microcosm of what's to come -- a staccato, frustrating season of patchwork football.