t's been almost two weeks since I wrote anything about Covid-19 and how it's affecting the upcoming football seasons. And in that two-week period, very little has been decided. In high school football, Georgia is moving full steam ahead, while Tennessee has already stated there will be a delay to the start of the season. The TSSAA has frustrated coaches across the Volunteer State because nothing else has been done. Most coaches are in favor of some sort of season this fall, but no one has come forth with a definite plan.
While school and other officials are trying to decide what to do with the 2020 season, new cases of Covid-19 continue to climb across the nation.
Hospitals are once again approaching capacity in many areas while people continue to refuse to practice social distancing and wear masks. We have spent the last three days in Melbourne, Florida, which has had fewer cases than the rest of the state, but even here, there are more Covid-19 cases now than there were a month ago.
A few weeks ago, Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said he expected the Volunteers to play a full schedule in front of huge crowds at Neyland Stadium. Fulmer said that depended upon fans wearing masks and social distancing and right now they are simply not doing it. Two Power Five conferences have already cancelled the non-conference portion of their schedule while the other three leagues are expected to follow suit within the next few days. The two conferences who have already wiped out non-conference competition are the Pac-12 and the Big Ten. The Big-12, SEC and the ACC are still discussing the situation.
There has been talk about moving seasons to the spring, and that may not be as far-fetched as it seems. The biggest drawbacks are on the collegiate level where school officials are saying it would be too difficult on the student athletes to have two seasons in one calendar year. That may be true but with the continuing increase in Covid-19 cases, the chances of spring football are improving each day.
With the refusal to wear masks as well as the refusal to properly social distance from each other, the only way to return things to normal will be to deal with the virus as best we can until a vaccine can be developed and distributed. It's obvious to me that without positive leadership from the top, the coronavirus is not going away. Cases will continue to rise and people will continue to die. For those who are really worried about whether or not we'll have a football season, put your priorities in order. Football is much less important than human lives.
Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org