Unfortunately Alabama football fans, it is time to cancel the season.
I know it is going to be an unpopular opinion, especially among Alabama football fans, but hear me out. The NCAA has the advantage of seeing some of the major professional sports come back and start playing again. The results thus far have not been encouraging.
As soon as testing began when student athletes were allowed to come back for organized activities, several programs across the country had multiple positive cases of COVID-19. That is the first red flag that a season shouldn’t happen.
The MLB has just started their season after delaying opening day for months and cutting the season by more than half. Four days after opening day the MLB was forced to delay games because of a small outbreak among the Miami Marlins. Now there is discussion again about just canceling the remainder of the season or further delaying it.
The sport that has best contained the virus is the NBA. The league created what is referred to as “The Bubble” where all players will stay for the rest of the NBA season. Even that has not been fully successful as evidenced by Lou Williams’ recent mishap.
The best way to guarantee the safety of student-athletes and still have a season is to create a “bubble” much like the NBA. The logistics required, while at the same time allowing these students to attend classes makes this option next to impossible.
According to Mayor Walt Maddow, the prospect of no football season would mean lost revenue to the City of Tuscaloosa of $200M. It is no small amount. How to weigh economic pain against possible loss of life offers no easy answer. Even if no college football player is at serious risk from the virus, what about coaches who are? Remember, Steve Sarkisian recently had a heart procedure. Reason suggests he cannot afford to contract the virus.
Alabama Football and only one good option
Unfortunately, that leaves us with one good option. Cancel the season.
The safety of each and every student-athlete is more important than the money the NCAA, the conferences, and every school stands to lose by canceling the season. Lives are more important than money.
Alabama football will take a hit for sure, but it will survive missing one season. Players that take the field if the season continues may not be so lucky. Missing out on the final seasons of Moses, Ray, Najee, etc. will be gut-wrenching, but not as gut-wrenching as hearing that a player will never play again, at any level, because of this disease.
The NCAA needs to do the right thing and take care of student-athletes. In this case, that means making a very tough decision to cancel, not only football but all fall sports.
Missing the 2020 season would be a tough pill to swallow, but there would be a silver lining for Alabama football. The 2021 recruiting class that got off to a slow start has heated up in a big way in recent weeks. Losing the big names for their final season would be devastating, but they will be replaced by a whole new crop of big-name talent from the 2020 and 2021 classes.
Editor’s Note: Bama Hammer is fortunate to have a strong group of contributors, who like Zachary Mangum articulate valuable opinions. Some of us may disagree with his contention but we appreciate the diversity of perspectives.