The college football season is on the verge of collapse, but Nebraska senator and former Midland University president Ben Sasse believes that the season can and should be salvaged.
Sports Illustrated obtained a copy of a letter Sasse plans to send to Big Ten presidents, which contains reasons why football should be played during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has drafted a letter that he plans to send to Big Ten presidents, identifying reasons why he believes college football should be played.@SINow obtained a copy.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 10, 2020
Sasse is a former university president. pic.twitter.com/xrpRjiWREf
Sasse is arguing that it will be safer for players to have a football season, due to the “structure and discipline of football programs.” In addition, it would cut players off from “testing and health care” that their universities could provide for them. He wraps up the letter by pointing out that leadership means being willing to take blame if things go wrong.
Health and safety protocols are major issue
Sasse’s letter doesn’t directly address the most important problem with college athletics right now: there are currently no universal COVID-19 health and safety protocols in college football, including guidelines for testing. Institutions are expected to come up with their own, and they could vary widely from school to school. Structure and discipline for college football players is useless during a pandemic if there is no routine testing or common sense COVID-19 protections involved.
Universal health and safety protocols across college sports is one of the issues that Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, and others are fighting for with their #WeWantToPlay campaign. They, like Sasse, believe there should be a college football season, but they want every university to take responsibility for providing a safe environment to do so. Sasse didn’t explicitly call for the Big 10 schools to do that, but he implied it by mentioning Fields and Lawrence, who are two of the leaders of the #WeWantToPlay movement.
Sasse knows what he’s up against, and so do the players who are part of #WeWantToPlay. The college football season has already started to unwind, with the majority of Big Ten schools reportedly voting to cancel fall sports in a meeting on Sunday. Sasse hopes his letter makes a difference, but it might already be too late.
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