Alabama Football: New COVID cases are a bad sign for football in the fall

Alabama football had 5 COVID cases. That’s not a good sign.

Alabama football has not yet started organized activities, but players have already tested positive for COVID-19. A recent reporting from 247Sports says that at least five football players have already tested positive for coronavirus. We are still months away from any fall classes or football games, but this is not a good sign for the season.

Even without organized activities, some of the Crimson Tide players have been working out together. They are working on routes, coverage, and footwork. These workouts include no social distancing as defenders are in press coverage. This was going to be a key concern with workouts starting in just a few days.

These four new cases are not a death sentence for college football in the fall by any means, but they are not a good sign. This shows how hard it is to keep athletes safe while preparing for a college football season. Without every member of an organization quarantining, players and coaches cannot remain completely safe. It’s not certain how these athletes caught or spread COVID-19, but their constant contact has to play a part of the situation.

There have to be a lot of contingencies on a healthy and safe college football season. The first question will be where the goalposts for success will be. Will a team have to disqualify themself from their next game if they have an athlete contract COVID-19? If not, they might risk transmitting the disease between opponents. Heck, will the entire college football season be canceled if too many players get coronavirus? If so, what is that number?

The discussion of these players being student athletes is interesting. If the rules for keeping a college football season alive are strict, Alabama football and other programs are going to have to impose strict measures to keep their students healthy. They can force student athletes to quarantine in their off time, but what about when they go to class? They can’t police an entire student body from going out when restaurants and stores are open across the state. Even if they could, some students would go home. If they can’t police all of their students, then athletes are putting themselves at risk by going to class. Would they have to take strictly online classes? If all of these measures were put into place, you would have students avoiding their families, avoiding their classmates, and foregoing their entire social life to play football for free. That is harsh, but these strict measures might be the only way from keeping students from contracting COVID-19. The latest confirmed cases have proven that what the athletes are doing currently are not enough.

One thing lost in this discussion is who all is being put at risk. The argument often made is that student athletes are incredibly healthy, so they shouldn’t be worried about possibly catching the virus. However, some athletes have auto-immune diseases and asthma. These put them at a higher risk than the average human. You also have more than healthy athletes in their prime. You have coaches, equipment workers, and staff of all kinds in the fold. This includes many elderly people. After all, Nick Saban is almost 70. He would be at risk if he was diagnosed with COVID-19. You’re not just putting student athletes at risk. You’re putting everyone at risk.

This is all harsh, and I realize that. No one wants to see Alabama football back on the field more than I do. I just hope that these diagnoses encourage football programs across the country to increase their safety measures so that we don’t see another spike in cases.