Indiana freshman offensive lineman Brady Feeney is in the hospital struggling with COVID-19 right now. He contracted the disease at some point after reporting to Bloomington for team activities, and is currently dealing with a possible heart condition after spending time in the ER due to breathing difficulties.
Nevertheless, it appears that we’re really pushing forward and doing this thing anyway. The Big Ten is reportedly set to release the new schedule for a 10-game conference-only slate today.
The Big Ten is expected to unveil its 2020 football schedule tomorrow, a source told @aldotcom. The expectation is it’ll be a 10-game schedule.— John Talty (@JTalty) August 3, 2020
With Clay Travis yet to save us, it appears there are no clear-cut answers yet.
If we put on our callous and unfeeling sports analysis face, what we can say is that this limits the upside of Minnesota’s passing game with both 1,000-yard receivers gone from last year. More of the burden is on Tanner Morgan’s shoulders than ever before, and Minnesota might not be the favorite in the West anymore.
That shouldn’t be what you take away from his decision.
It’s not just about the NFL. Illinois runningback Ra’von Bonner, who was in line to split carries with Mike Epstein, left the team over concerns about his asthma making him uniquely vulnerable to coronavirus.
What does this mean for the Illini rushing attack?
We’re hurtling towards a season in mostly-empty stadiums on mostly-empty campuses where games will be won or lost based on how teams and players feel about the value of and risk to their long-term health through the lens of a highly contagious virus.
Does anyone else find this ridiculous?
Here’s some more testimonials from Arizona‘s Jaden Mitchell:
“Even though they did everything they could, being in a room or house for 28 days had a great impact on my body and mental health. The fact of the matter is that if this virus gets a hold of you and you experience symptoms, it will have a great impact on you.
From LSU linebacker Travez Moore:
Bro coronavirus is real .. i was 256 now I’m 229 because i lost my appetite and it’s hard to eat plus you can barley breath. You can’t smell food you can’t taste food or taste any liquids.. stay y’all ass in the house https://t.co/GU66rkau0v— vezz (@moore_travez) August 4, 2020
There’s a wide range of outcome between “no symptoms” and “death” that can still render victims unable to play football for weeks, months, years or forever.
Our insatiable appetite for football and the money there is to be made off that is the principle reason the season is still on at this point.
With as little humor as possible, I beseech you to keep all of this risk to players and staff in mind as we plow ahead, and to let that knowledge color your consumption of college football media in the months ahead.
It is apparently time for SB Nation’s editorial management to re-evaluate if they really want the 2020 season to be played or not. This subtext will be in the background of every discussion about the season, and when we’re just pressing on—figuring the well-being of athletes and staff is an acceptable sacrifice—I hope I am not overstepping my publishing privileges by opining that it this situation is less than ideal.