FishDuck, Oh FishDuck … Can We EVER Play Football Again?

Mike West Editorials

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My gosh, Mr. FishDuck, you really laid it on us Wednesday. Canceling college football never felt so horrible.

When I was considering the 2020 college football season season post-COVID, I was favoring the side that some would call the money men. But after reading about the health risks players face, I’m seriously reconsidering. Safety actually matters to me: who wants to see anyone — especially young men — face a lifetime of serious health issues?

I talked to my dad about the health risks, and we discussed the vaccine angle. Nobody has ever developed a successful vaccine in less than four years. I seriously hope those mega-super-computer calculations we’ve heard about rewrite history this time, because if history doesn’t get rewritten, then college athletes have very tough decisions to make.

We’re in Unprecedented Times

Charles Fischer, (Mr. FishDuck) says that if a vaccine doesn’t get developed, there isn’t a university that would touch the risks associated with high impact sports (football and basketball). Why would schools accept liability for possibilities they have no reasonable means of controlling?

I don’t know how schools can control students — including the athletes — enough to eliminate the risks. And we haven’t even discussed how individuals aged 18-23 actually regard the risks associated with catching and or spreading COVID-19. How could you ever expect a university to control thousands of individuals? Especially, when most of those individuals are young men and women trying to make social connections with each other?

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The men’s basketball team appeared primed for a deep playoff finish in March of 2021

As we all know, risk never goes away. But you can kiss college sports goodbye if treatments (not vaccines) don’t arrive here and now. The ramifications of canceling the season will be disastrous. It really could spell the end of scholarships for thousands of high-school and college athletes.

Yet, how do we justify moving forward with the season this fall? While I’m still rooting for playing this season, the current COVID cases among P5 players give me pause. It might be reckless to go ahead with it. The combination of all these issues creates enormous stress for coaches, athletes and the fans; many seek professional mental health counseling during this unprecedented time from reliable sources such as this, which help keep a mental equilibrium intact through these unexpected challenges.

Who Should be Responsible?

Life in America has always been about individual responsibility. I know what I would personally do as an athlete. But I cannot speak for them. Nor can I speak for the universities. We actually talked about that in an article here on FishDuck. And here we are, five weeks later and nothing has changed. The risks involved are huge, whatever decisions are made.

Consider this, if a successful vaccine takes more than a year to develop from today — or two (three?) years — the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons are a repeat of this year. And what if the virus is still around after that? That’s what makes this issue so tough for all involved. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But the risks should be shared.

What does the future hold?

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The Ducks 2020-2021 roster could be the program’s greatest talent pool in recent history

Personally, I want a college football season. But how do we make that work? Is it really reasonable to hold a football season this year?  What would you do if you were a University President or Athletic Director or Conference Commissioner? What would you do if you were a player?

Mike West
Las Vegas, Nevada
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove

Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.

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