President Donald Trump’s campaign to reopen the economy and in-class schools despite the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended to include college football this fall.
On Monday, Trump twice tweeted his support for college football to kickoff as planned on Labor Day weekend amid ongoing discussions of the season being postponed or canceled.
“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” tweeted Trump, adding the trending hashtag #WeWantToPlay at the end of his comment. He later tweeted “Play College Football!”
Trump made this demand even as the Big Ten Conference discussed possibly canceling or postponing its 2020 season. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is said to favor playing the season in the spring of 2021 but no final decision was announced.
Other members of the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC) are still uncertain as to their courses of action. The PAC-12, however, is expected to follow the Big Ten’s lead.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Mountain West conferences, which do not belong to the Power 5, have postponed all fall sports until the spring of 2021 at the earliest.
A source in the Power 5 hierarchy told Sports Illustrated “attempts to salvage the fall 2020 college football season are all but over.” This news, however, isn’t dissuading Trump for pushing for a fall football season.
Power 5 officials held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss options after receiving some disturbing medical advice about returning to the gridiron too soon. Among the many concerns is the increased risk of heart issues as a result of COVID-19.
Their decisions, however, might eventually hinge on whether most campuses reopen in the coming weeks. There’s also the daunting warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the number COVID-19 cases in teens and young adults increasing sixfold in the past months.
After the MAC’s announcement, two Power 5 athletic directors told CBS Sports the cancellation of the 2020 college football season this fall is unavoidable.
Players are also being battered by uncertainty. More than 30 Power 5 players, among them potential first-round draft picks, have refused to play in the fall citing fears over COVID-19 infections. Others are using the #WeWantToPlay hashtag to show their support for getting back on the field this fall.
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