Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge
(AP) – President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.
There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.
A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its
presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the
powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to
shutter its fall season.
“Best advice I’ve received since
COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new
& you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg
Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped
A growing number of athletes have spoken out about
saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among
the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag
#WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.
“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.
Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and
other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan
to play a football season.
“We concluded that the season –
including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our
student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.
Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown
players can be safe after they return to school.
advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players
desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight
weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am
advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled
because of these facts.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican,
picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents
and chancellors of the Big Ten.
“Life is about tradeoffs. There
are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s
absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and
discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived
experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”
“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”