America continues to trudge ahead with life despite COVID-19 ravaging the country. The college football community is going about its business as usual, waiting for August to come so practices and games can start up. Given the circumstances are, in fact, getting worse rather than better, the contingency plan to push the season back to spring may become less of a last resort and more of an only option over the next four weeks.
Jim Harbaugh gave his thoughts on the pandemic to reporters today. He believes the season will move forward because no experts believe sports will aggravate the current state of things to the point that having sports is unadvisable.
I mean, yeah, okay, technically he's kind of right. Whether or not we have sports is not going to make or break the country's chances to emerge from the pandemic intact. Introducing sports back into everyone's lives does not have a direct correlation to cases rising across the US and pushing it closer to its breaking point.
But also, if you think about it for more than 10 seconds, he's actually super wrong! College football in particular has a chance to be devastating when it comes to the virus. Having a fall CFB season does not automatically mean cases are going to rise, but the likelihood of these student-athletes testing positive certainly does. If schools bring back their student population, these student-athletes are not only risking their own health, but that of those around them. What happens if Michigan plays on Saturday, players go about their regular lives on Sunday, and find out several have tested positive on Monday? How many people can a couple of college kids come into contact with over the course of 24 hours and potentially spread it further? Then how many of those people will come into contact with others?
It's a big domino effect. That's why there should be cautious about rushing a return to sports. Not having sports will not stop the coronavirus in its tracks, just as having sports will not cause cases to skyrocket in ways we have not yet seen. But there is nothing black-and-white here. It's not a math equation. Having sports will make the pandemic worse because it increases the chances of exposure for thousands of men and women around the country. Harbaugh appears to have a level head about the situation, but to believe otherwise is willfully missing the point.