Chansky’s Notebook: In State Hands

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It looks like state governors will make the call on college football.

With the NCAA punting on guidelines to allow college football and other contact sports to resume this fall, it will be the governors who decide and that could vary widely from state to state.

I’ve talked about governors of SEC states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina determining under which conditions colleges can play contact sports in the 2020-21 academic year. For those states, the governors will say “play ball” so they can get either reelected in November or keep from getting run out of their capitals.

For example, Alabama may well say football can be played with no fans or only limited attendance. How about scenes in Tuscaloosa and Auburn when the Crimson Tide and Tigers are playing at home? Even with the stadium packed to capacity, thousands of fans still tailgate outside. If they aren’t allowed in, it could be riot time.

With Trump handing off testing and other responsibilities to the states, college sports will clearly land on the governors’ desks. And this one needs to be dealt with more responsibly than concussions and other injuries that jeopardize athletes’ careers if not their health.

Despite the recent spike of COVID-19 infections in North Carolina, Roy Cooper has seemed to handle it more responsibly than other governors in this part of the country. Gregg Abbot has all but said football will begin on time in Texas with at least some fans in attendance. How he can guarantee that at this point is beyond me.

Since a widespread disparity exists throughout the country on everything from the availability of tests to the number of infections and deaths, it will be hard to come up with a one size fits all policy. I am betting Cooper listens hard to presidents and chancellors of his universities, along with health officials, on how to allow sports if at all.

No one can predict a second wave of COVID 19 or how many athletes can get tested during the week before a game. And certainly, there will be some who test positive. In order to avoid panic, every policy must start with how and where to quarantine those who do.

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