Fans have been wondering whether there will be college football played in the fall. While we don’t know that answer yet, we do know that schools are unlikely to have sports if students aren’t on campus first. That’s what Mark Emmert says.
Emmert, the NCAA president, had a conversation about the future of college sports in the coronavirus environment. A video of the conversation was posted on the NCAA’s Twitter account. The main takeaway is that Emmert says there won’t be fall sports if students aren’t allowed on campus. Emmert said:
“College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college (campuses) open and having students on them. You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body.
“That doesn’t mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. … If a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”
Emmert says that contact tracing and testing must be improved and much more readily available in order for schools to be open and sports to take place. He indicated that schools would likely have to make a decision on what will happen for the fall within the next month or so.
There is also a possibility of fans being able to attend events so long as they follow the rules in place in their respective areas. And since different schools may have different policies, that could result in unbalanced athletic schedules, with some programs playing more or less than others.
There is so much uncertain currently, but there is one thing we do now: The NCAA says it is not going to put student-athletes at any more risk than what non-athletes experience.