College football: Shut it down during COVID-19 surge

America is barreling toward a winter lockdown because of skyrocketing COVID-19 cases that threaten to run amok.

And yet, college football continues.

About 90% of Californians live in counties that are in the purple, or “widespread risk,” tier in the state’s four-color reopening plan.

And yet, Pac-12 and Mountain West sports leaders continue to play games in California.

At a time Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a nighttime curfew ahead of Thanksgiving, college football engages in reckless behavior by gathering in large groups to partake in non-essential business.

For many diehard fans, this stance is not just unpopular. It’s sacrilege to speak it out loud among those whose lives are tethered to a cultural emblem that screams “Made in America”.

Speak it we must. The evidence mounts weekly that while campus leaders gave it the old college try, their misguided efforts have failed.

Two of the Bay Area’s three Division I football teams had games canceled Saturday in what is becoming an all-too-familiar scenario.

The Stanford-Washington State game was declared a no-contest when the Cougars did not have enough scholarship athletes available because of coronavirus issues.

San Jose State’s game at Fresno State also was declared no contest because of COVID-19 issues among the Bulldogs.

The school that did play — Cal — announced an hour before kickoff that three offensive linemen would not play because of virus issues. Officials held out four others for unspecified problems.

Just another Saturday on the football field.

San Jose State’s cancellation was the fifth Mountain West game this season and third over the weekend canceled because of COVID-19.

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“While there is disappointment about not playing a game this weekend, this is another reminder how important it is to follow all the health and safety guidelines to beat COVID-19 – starting with wearing a face mask, washing your hands frequently, and practicing safe social distancing,” Spartans coach Brent Brennan said.

San Jose State (4-0) is enjoying its best start in 65 years with an electrifying offense and stubborn defense. But who knows how many asterisks will be added to the record by the time the season ends next month.

Stanford (0-2) has yet to find its footing because a testing error kept starting quarterback Davis Mills out of the opener and forced him to lose a week of practice before the second game last weekend.

Cal, also winless heading into the Big Game on Friday at Memorial Stadium, had to cancel its season opener because of one positive COVID-19 test that resulted in losing the defensive line through contact tracing protocol.

Then a COVID-19 outbreak at Arizona State that infected Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards forced a second cancellation for Cal. But the Pac-12 quickly reacted to schedule the Bears against UCLA on a rare Sunday game last week.

Officials canceled or postponed at least 17 games across the country this week. The University of Miami announced Friday that coach Manny Diaz had tested …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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