The Big Ten Needs to Bring Football Back

Washington quarterback Jake Browning runs against Ohio State defensive line Jaylee Johnson during the first half of the Rose Bowl...The Rose Bowl -- known in sports circles as the "Grandaddy of them All" -- featured a College Football Playoff semifinal between the Washington Huskies and the Ohio State Buckeyes in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 2019. PHOTO CREDIT: Van Ha//DVIDS

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is coming off an amazing statistical season. His team was ready to contend for a National Championship while he was going to be fighting to be a top draft pick in the NFL. 

However, he can’t play. High school players in his state can play. NFL players in his state can play. Hell, Even other colleges in his state can play. But the Big Ten said Fields has to put his dream on pause. 

This is the college football landscape. But it’s not based on statistics. Nor is it based on economics. You could argue that isn’t not based on what’s best for student-athletes. So, what is it? What’s keeping the Big Ten from letting a kid achieve his dreams? 

Who Can Play?

STATENFLCollegesHigh SchoolBut You Can’t
OhioCleveland, CincinnatiCincinnatiYesOhio State
PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, PhiladelphiaPittsburghYesPenn State
MichiganDetroitIntramural SportsYesMichigan, Michigan State
IowaNoneIowa StateYesIowa

“But it’s for their safety, they are better off at home.”

Students arriving to school test positive for COVID-19 in huge amounts. But that tapers off when they’re on campus. But leave campus for a week and they test positive. So how is it better at home? You think young adults are at home quarantining and playing checkers with grandma?

“Wait! didn’t you see what happened at UNC?”

Unfortunately once we tested these kids, many of them arrived on campus with COVID-19. Now they have switched to virtual learning.

This, in my mind , makes a perfect environment for college football. You have just built a bubble for these athletes. They can now avoid exposure to the general public. They can get tested multiple times a week as well as have access to all the medical experts they need.

“But they won’t have a future if they die from COVID-19.”

Many athletes have tested positive in the MLB, UFC, NBA and college football, but no one has had major complications. They can be tested every day if they wish, and if they test positive, they are surrounded by medical professionals.

What do the Players think?

Joe Burrow had an amazing season last year. Without college football, he would have been drafted in maybe the 5th round. He also would have made around $2.8 million for his first contract. Instead, he was drafted first overall and will make more than $36 million

Many current college players have also voiced their concerns through social media, online petitions and even lawsuits against their colleges.

Major college football athletes are different from regular students. They have separate facilities for student athletes. Schools have separate gyms and medical staff. They have each other and coaches for accountability. No player wants to be the one to get sick and affect their teammates’ season. They even have places they can nap with walls to divide and distance each other.

When Clemson, Alabama, LSU showed up to campus with high positivity rates, why haven’t they continued to see positive results week after week? They tested positive while being at home, and since being on campus with teammates and precautions, they remain healthy and well. Oklahoma was healthy, until it let kids leave for a week. Upon returning, they had positive tests again. Where is the data that football isn’t safe? Where is the data that supports tearing the livelihood and dreams of a young person away from them?

The Big Ten doesn’t need to ruin Fields chances at becoming a top draft pick. It doesn’t need to hurt his, or any other player’s pockets. What they need is a safe environment, not to get rid of the game all together.

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