WATCH: The twist on players’ return to campus; Jamie Newman throws to Tre’ McKitty
ATHENS — Georgia football players have been working hard amid trying circumstances, a championship caliber roster and staff in place for the 2020 season.
Quarterback Jamie Newman recently posted a video of himself and fellow UGA transfer Tre’ McKitty working out on their own outside of the voluntary workout parameters set by the NCAA.
The players have the right to do what they want in their free time.
Newman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, was recently throwing to McKitty, a former Florida State tight end.
It’s safe to assume that other players are also playing football outside of the closely monitored and organized voluntary workouts.
— Chris Figgures (@chrislfiggures) June 20, 2020
Players won’t be allowed to practice under their football coaches’ supervision at Georgia until July 15, and the first workout under Kirby Smart’s supervision involving a football is July 26.
Those dates are two days later than most programs because the Bulldogs are scheduled to open the season on a Monday night — Sept. 7 — as opposed to a more traditional opening on a Saturday.
Some doubt about the playing of the college football season has re-emerged in the media of late.
Noted SEC Network host Paul Finebaum recently said on ESPN that he’s gone from “incredibly positive to pause,” because of the unknowns that remain with how the country and public will handle the pandemic.
Sports Illustrated reported LSU quarantined at least 30 plays on account of the “nationwide uptick in the (COVID-19) virus related to the Memorial Day holiday and the widespread mass gatherings from protests.”
On the one hand, there’s the potential for herd immunity before the season begins.
On the other, there’s concerns of a team experiencing an outbreak midseason.
It has led to a lot of conversation about what is best for the players.
But what about what the players themselves want? What of players’ rights?
A common narrative has centered around school’s making money off their college football programs, and to what degree the players could potentially be taken advantage of.
But a potential twist would be if schools told players they could not play, and the damage to the NFL draft eligible players’ stock and earning potential should they have to sit out a year.
Would football, like the spring sports, grant all of those players another year of eligibility should the season be canceled or limited?
That would seem considerably more challenging due to the sheer roster size of scholarship players (85).
Do players not have the right to play football, just as others have the right to go to their jobs and perform in their professions?
Would they be any more safe in their home community than on a college campus or playing other student-athletes that are their age?
The COVID-19 health and recovery statistics for people under the age of 24 demand both sides of players’ rights be examined closely before passing judgment.