Prognosis Negative: What Are Health Experts Telling College Football Conferences?

Kyle Koster
Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images
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The MAC canceled all fall sports over the weekend, citing ongoing concerns over COVID outbreak and response. Mitigation efforts have failed, will likely continue to fail, and pulling the plug feels like the responsible, albeit extremely disappointing thing to do. Each conference is mulling its fate right now, with the Big Ten and Pac-12 on the bleaker side while more optimism exists in ACC, Big 12, and SEC circles.

With the NCAA completely uninterested in leading a unified approach and establishing a one-size-fits all model for everyone to follow, disparate medical advisory boards are tasked with ensuring any on-field action can be justified as a risk, health-wise. The MAC pointed to the information it's been receiving from their board as a primary reason for pushing a season to the spring.

But here's the thing. What type of information did it receive before pulling the plug and is there any way it could be all that different from the data available this whole time? It's not as though there's been a dramatic turn in the medical approach to COVID-19 in the past week. At no time have we as a society had a firm grasp on the long-term impacts of the virus. That there may be life-long heart problems associated with the illness is not new knowledge.

And why the hell aren't these experts' findings being made public? What could potentially be the harm in everyone knowing the calculus going into these decisions? Unless, of course, it's being ignored in the interest of MOAR FOOTBAW. Why did the Big Ten blow out its schedule release five days ago for a television event?

There's something to be said about optimism and laying plans out in case the breaks fall in one's favor. It just looks absurd to do all these football cheerleading in public when it's doomsday behind closed doors. There's simply no way we went from a place of "we're going to have a full Big Ten season" to "we're shutting it all down" in six days. Is there? Did the medical prognosis change that rapidly?

Surely, there are no satisfying answers here. That's just not the world we live in any more. But it'd be pretty disappointing to find out the handwriting has been on the wall and the final nail was nailed into college football's coffin months ago and this has all been a game of chicken regarding who blinks and cancels first.

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