Joel Klatt, a college football analyst for Fox Sports, just released a video on YouTube making the case not to cancel college football season:
Klatt acknowledged that the coronavirus is a big deal and that he and his family are following CDC guidelines and wearing masks and social distancing, but that the total numbers of deaths and cases don’t paint a clear picture of the risk factors for a specific age group — namely college football players.
“This virus is statistically close to zero threat to college age kids,” Klatt said. “They are at far greater danger from things like car accidents, homicide, suicide, heart disease — even lightning strikes — than they are from Covid.”
Klatt made five core arguments:
1) Those that want to opt out should be able to opt out without fear of losing their scholarship. (With a caveat, he means you should wholly opt out, and be in close to isolation as opposed to being around team activities.)
2) Nothing should be in stone — revisions and adjustments should be made and expected, as they have been for example with the PGA Tour.
3) Players will be healthier within the structure of football than outside it. This includes testing, tracing, academic structure — “This is a safer bubble than being in the normal fray of everyday life … The only thing safer than being in this structure is being in isolation or quarantine.”
4) The human impact of cancellation — people have been dealing with suicide and depression at far greater rates than before Covid. “It would be naive to think that we wouldn’t see a rise in depression and the overall deterioration of mental health of these college football players, many of whom who have been singularly focused on their sport and achievement in their sport their entire life — to take that away from them at this point I think would be very detrimental to their mental health.”
5) The financial impact — you would lose thousands or tens of thousands of scholarship opportunities across college athletics without football as a financial engine.
Hopefully Klatt’s words get heard — particularly part 3 — before it’s too late.