President Donald Trump wants college football to be played this fall.
Trump quote tweeted Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on Monday afternoon and said that athletes worked too hard for the 2020 season to be canceled or pushed back. The potential for no college football in the fall has become more real in recent days as the Big Ten could be nearing an announcement this week that it won’t have football or other fall sports in 2020.
Less than an hour after his first tweet, Trump repeated his message.
Early Monday evening, Trump’s account tweeted a video that adopted the players’ #WeWantToPlay hashtag.
Lawrence tweeted his message late Sunday night after a Zoom call with other prominent college football players. In the call and the graphic, the players outlined their desires to play with enhanced safety measures because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The message also notes that players “ultimately” want to create a college football players association. Because players are students of their schools and not employees, they cannot officially unionize. The NCAA has considered college athletes amateurs for years as players have been unable to make money off their names or likenesses.
Numerous college football teams aren’t playing in 2020
Approximately an hour before Trump’s tweet, Old Dominion announced that it wouldn’t have sports in the fall. ODU became the 14th school at college football’s top level to say there would be no football in 2020 and the first school in a conference to announce that it wasn’t playing independent of its conference. The Mid-American Conference’s 12 teams announced over the weekend that they wouldn’t play football and UConn, an independent in football, was the first team to say it wasn’t playing.
The NCAA’s Division II and Division III announced last week that they wouldn’t have fall sports championships and more than half of the conferences at the second-tier FCS level of college football have said they won’t play in the fall.
Those schools and teams, however, don’t get nearly as much attention as those in the Power Five conferences of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. And a Power Five conference’s move to postpone or cancel football in 2020 would be another sign that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere.
Trump likely understands that. No football in 2020 can be seen as an indictment of the United States government’s handling of the pandemic. Leaders at universities across the country were hoping that the football season could be played as scheduled as the pandemic waned across the summer months. That didn’t happen. And we may find ourselves without any college football in the fall despite the president’s desires.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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