ATHENS — Improved testing and information sharing among the six FBS college conferences preparing for football season will be key to teams playing games this fall, per a high-placed DawgNation source.
Science and technology has been racing to catch up with knowledge to contain and ultimately defeat the COVID-19 virus.
Indeed, as recent as Saturday morning, an advancement in saliva testing was announced that could increase the chances of the season taking place.
The other half of the equation for the season to take place is how well student-athletes practice COVID-19 protocol with students back on campus. The next three weeks are key.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity made it clear during an appearance with Georgia TV partner WSB-2 that he’s gaining confidence there will be a season.
“I think our confidence level is high, we have cautious optimism as well,” McGarity said. “As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, we have a chance to move forward.
“I’m confident (as long as) our young men and women, as well as our staff, practice these protocols, I think we’re in good shape to play sports this fall.”
Many have suggested a “bubble” approach works best, based on the early results of the NBA and Major League Baseball season.
The NBA has had success by isolating players on the Disney World resort, while professional baseball took a more lax approach and has had several cases resulting in quarantines.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey recently referred to a “quasi-bubble” the football players are in by the nature of the demands on their time.
No doubt, they are essentially sequestered from the student body 90 percent of the time when one considers the vast majority of their activities take place in a locked down football facility around others who are tested and monitored closely.
Miami coach Manny Diaz, whose Hurricanes’ will be the first ACC team to kick off this season with a Sept. 10 game at UAB, recently shared a concept of individual bubbles.
“There are people you’ve chosen to allow to get within 6 feet of you …. We all have a bubble, and that bubble is who we allow in close contact with us without a mask,” Diaz told ESPN.
“Now, certainly, we can think of the NBA bubble or going to Orlando and being completely isolated — we can’t do that. But we can determine who we allow into close contact with us, and for how long we allow them to be in close contact.”
Clemson, meanwhile, was full-go outdoors on Saturday, holding its first scrimmage of fall camp.
The hypocritical nature of the Big Ten and Pac-12 “Cancel Conferences,” is that they are allowing students who aren’t tested or monitored to pursue their ambitions on campus even as the deny the student-athletes.
“How,” many have asked, “could this be happening?”
“Of course it’s a political situation.” former Yale and current Stanford epidemiologist Mark Cullen told Sports Illustrated.
“This should not be politicized.”
A recent “Stadium” map portrayed the football states and the cancellation states suggesting further evidence of a political divide.
Another difference between the Big Ten/Pac-12 and the conferences still playing is a metro/rural divide. Many of the Big 12 and Pac-12 schools are in or very near larger metropolitan areas.
McGarity might have provided the best context as to why the SEC, Big 12, ACC, Conference USA, Sun Belt and American Athletic conference’s are moving forward.
“These young people have a three, four, or five-year window to participate, and we have an obligation to try to make that happen,” McGarity said last month.
“But it’s gotta be done in a safe manner. They have to feel safe. Their parents have to feel safe, and it’s a new world. We all have to learn how to live in a COVID society.”
Georgia, along with other SEC schools, begins practice on Monday leading up to the season’s Sept. 26 opening game.
Despite other conferences calling off fall sports, #UGA AD Greg McGarity remains confident the Dawgs will play this fall!
— Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) August 15, 2020
DawgNation College football close-up