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Beyond the Fort: Teams deal with COVID fallout across NCAA Football

Three Big 12 members have had their openers delayed/cancelled.

TCU v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Consider TCU trendsetters.

After the Horned Frogs announced that their season-opener against SMU was delayed due to threshold issues put in place by the Big 12 conference, well, other programs seemed anxious to follow suit.

First, it was Tulsa, who dealt with enough positive tests within their program to push back their scheduled opener at Oklahoma State a week, then, Tuesday evening, Baylor followed when Louisiana Tech dealt with a COVD outbreak of their own.

The ten member Big 12 conference is down to seven teams expected to open their seasons Saturday, with the best matchup on the weekend belonging to Louisiana-Lafayette and Iowa State. But of equal interest in Ames, at least among the locals, isn’t Saturday’s game, it’s this week’s announcement that the university would be indefinitely closing C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in response to a $30 million budget shortfall. While the Cyclones seem poised for a breakout season, fans of the fine arts are devastated at the loss of a “cultural bedrock of the Ames community” and a building that was designated “Building of the Century” in 2004.

Lincoln Riley made the wrong kind of news this week as well when he announced that his program would not be sharing the names of any players to test positive with COVID-19, something he is allowed to do by law, but that some would argue goes against the spirit of plans for this fall. “We made the decision to not broadcast that. I know we’ve been probably the most transparent school in the country up until then, but you don’t want to give your team a competitive disadvantage, so we’re not going to do that,” Riley said. That’s different than say, the ACC, who will provide a list of players out prior to games — without disclosing the reason why.

In other ACC news, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, amongst the most vocal college athletes this summer, clarified his role in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a civil rights activist or an activist in general. I just think we all carry a responsibility based on who you are and what your platform is. For the love of my teammates and friends, family, everyone I know, I think it’s part of my responsibility to try to help any way I can. I know there’s a lot of eyes on me. Critics, but also a lot of younger generation people looking up to me, so I’m conscious of that. I want to use my platform the right way and try to impact people. I’m not an activist of any sorts, but I do think I have a responsibility to promote equality and help the people I love.” Lawrence spoke up on several issues over the past several months, including social justice issues and player empowerment opportunities.

Lastly, in Big Ten news... they still don’t know what they’re doing this fall. But now, the politicians are involved. As of Tuesday, ten elected officials had signed a petition directed at the conference’s commissioner asking for football to be played this fall. Because they don’t have anything better to do, apparently.

That’s all for this week’s edition of Beyond the Fort; what news have you seen from outside of Fort Worth that has you intrigued?