The decision to postpone sports at PCC is the best choice to make with cases of COVID-19 in California remaining in the thousands.
The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) decided that all sports will be delayed until spring of 2021.
“I know I speak for the entire CCCAA Board that moving fall athletics to spring 2021 is a huge disappointment,” told Erika Endrijonas, board chair of CCCAA and superintendent-president of Pasadena City College, to CCCAA. “However, the need to keep our student-athletes and the amazing coaches and athletic trainers who work with them safe was simply the only option available with the virus spiraling out of control across the state.”
Colleges need to step back and realize that even with all the precautions in place, it still won’t be enough to keep players safe. This was the case for University of Indiana offensive lineman Brady Feeney.
“Unfortunately this virus hit my son very hard compared to most of his teammates,” Deborah Rucker, Feeney’s mother, said in a social media post. “Here was a kid in perfect health, great physical condition and due to the virus ended up going to the emergency room because of breathing issues. After 14 days of hell battling the horrible virus, his school did additional testing on all those that were positive…Now we are dealing with possible heart issues! He is still experiencing additional symptoms and his blood work is indicating additional problems. Bottom line, even if your son’s schools do everything right to protect them, they can’t protect them.”
Professional sports have resumed, but the only ones being well protected are those in a quarantined bubble. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has had 0 positive test results in more than a month. In stark contrast, Major League Baseball (MLB), being under no bubble, has had 111 players test positive.
Of course, the infection is not isolated to athletes, as several MLB staff members have also become infected. As a result, numerous games have been postponed and many players chose to opt-out for the rest of the season, such as Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price.
“After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season,” said Price in a social media post.
Professional athletes are signed to long-term contracts and have the added benefit of world-class health care facilities. They also have state of the art technology monitoring their vital signs everyday. Furthermore, Lebron James has an annual salary of $37.44 million. That’s $434,757 a game, and even with a 25% reduction, due to COVID-19, that is still $326,068 per game. College student-athletes make $0.00.
Students who contract the virus are risking their lives without any incentives. Student-athletes are not just athletes. They have part-time jobs, midterms and schoolwork mixed in with long practices. Piled on top of all that is the added stress of a disease that is potentially fatal and can be spread to their family and friends.
If professional sports owners and professional athletes are going above and beyond to take precautionary measures, then it stands to reason that colleges should do the same. The college’s responsibility is to keep sports on hiatus and resume only when schools can offer testing every day, the same high-level healthcare facilities, and a 0% chance of dying from COVID-19.
There are those that argue and say sports are necessary and need to return.
“College football is essential because to people in the South, it has always been much more than a game,”said Tony Barnhart, writer for Sports Illustrated. “It is an important part of our social fabric. And right now our social fabric needs all the help it can get.”
Is ignoring COVID-19 in order to obtain a sense of normalcy enough to endanger the lives of students? No, not under any circumstances. The regulations and precautions are already published, but those restrictions are not enough to prevent the spread.
It is a very difficult situation for student-athletes who have worked hard to earn a spot on a team. This is a very difficult slice of life that has affected all of us to varying degrees. Some will choose to play and may find some form of pride in that. Some may come to regret that choice and it will haunt them forever. Every choice comes with a consequence.
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