Bad choices have bad consequences
While the 4A and below seasons started out strong, there’s a reason the higher division teams were told to wait on their return to football, and we’re seeing the effects now. Multiple highly anticipated games and seasons are being put on hold due to an excessive amount of COVID-19 cases. A few of these include: Prosper (24) vs DeSoto (6), Cedar Hill (13) vs Allen (19), as well as Denton Ryan’s (2) season being halted until October 21st.
So, what’s the solution? How do we ensure a full season gets played at the High School level? Well, unfortunately I’m not sure there is a certain factor that could be manipulated in our favor. Let me explain by taking a look at the NFL’s season. While there have been recent outbreaks there as well, the primary difference is that it’s the athlete’s job to play football, so they treat it as such. They have an internal respect for the game that can’t be taught by coaches, allowing them to make smarter choices that limit their exposure. At the high school level, that’s just too much to ask for from guys at that young of an age.
Many high schools are starting to recognize that the end of the season is near, and have moved Homecoming and Senior night festivities to the beginning of district play.
While the issue is appearing at its greatest capacity in high school football, college teams are not immune to cancellations. In fact, Baylor announced that they’d be cancelling all athletic activities until at least October 17th, when they plan to host Oklahoma State.
The university confirmed 28 players, as well as 14 staffers infected, also mentioning that they likely brought positive cases with them to Morgantown.
This appears to be an extreme outbreak and does raise concerns for the university’s protocols and adherence to state guidelines. The Bears administration believes the transmission of the virus would have come from the close quarters the teams shared in either the locker room, or at team dinners. However, Baylor Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades, was quoted saying the high number of cases is likely linked to false positives.
On the bright side, the pros appear to have their outbreaks contained. After no new positive cases from either team, the Titans will host the Bills tonight as rescheduled. The NFL announced last week that their new protocol would be to reschedule games on Monday or Tuesday, and poor behavior that results in a positive case will also result in a fine. This factor exemplifies why the NFL should be able to get their teams under control fairly quickly, and why we could see high school and college teams struggle in the upcoming weeks.
While currently only rumors, the NFL could potentially be taking a play from the NBA’s book, as they consider creating a bubble for the playoffs. They originally opposed a league-wide bubble due to the copious number of players and staff that would be required to be in 1 or 2 places at the same time. The large grouping could end up doing more harm than good. But with fewer players to worry about, this strategy seems to be the logical response to ensure a quick and safe playoff bracket.