Assuming everything goes to plan, we’re less than three weeks (18 days, to be exact) from the start of Kansas State’s 2020 football season. This would be cause for much excitement, but given our current pandemic situation, it is appropriate that to temper our enthusiasm just a little.
As students return to college campuses across the country, there has been—predictably—a rise in positive coronavirus tests. Nobody has concrete answers about the impact of these surges on college football, but the season may indeed hang in the balance.
— At North Carolina, the arrival of students in Chapel Hill, caused a spike in test positivity, prompting the school to ask students to return home and resume classes online. The Daily Tar Heel, the school’s student-run newspaper, did not mince words in a scathing editorial comment on the administration’s failure to keep students safe and informed. Now it appears that school officials failed to heed warning messages from medical professionals on reopening campus.
— Fellow ACC conference team Notre Dame also moved to cancel in-person instruction and move classes online after 147 positive tests for COVID-19.
— At Alabama, a 29% positivity rate following the return of students to campus forced the school to cancel all in-person student events for 14 days. The school has a re-entry testing policy, and less than 1% of returning students tested positive on the first day of classes. The COVID-19 spike is being blamed on students not acting responsibly, but was this not entirely predictable, indeed inevitable?
— Students have returned to campus in Manhattan, Kansas too. While the school is confident its protocols are adequate and that students have been socially distancing and following the school’s mandatory masking policy, it cannot control off-campus behavior. This was in evidence after 13 tested positive following a recent frat party, and the county health department shut down two bars in Manhattan for not following protocol.
— Even Kellis Robinett, typically so positive about the season, reveals his doubts about college football surviving into December in his K-State Q&A. This week’s installment is full of other fun information too, including Joshua Youngblood’s extremely realistic aspirations for the season, Kellis’ thoughts on the NCAA’s eligibility freeze, and whether this will lead to a quarterback battle in 2021 with Skylar Thompson still in the mix as a super senior.
— At the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 teams remain committed to playing the 2020 season, mostly because football players have been in a semi-bubble situation for fall camp. But is this ethical? Recall the NCAA banned all-athlete dorms in the 1990s, citing concern that athletes were receiving differential treatment. Putting players in a bubble would be the safest option and the easiest way to have a college football season, but it would also reveal college football’s amateurism for the sham that it is. Nobody in college football is prepared for that.
— Finally, in news completely unconnected to football or the pandemic, former Wildcat Kamau Stokes will ply his trade in Sweden. He just signed a contract with the Norrköping Dolphins of Sweden’s top pro , the Basketligan. Stokes previously made 12 appearances for another European squad, Polpharma Starogard Gdański of the Polish Basketball League.