Alabama Football: Get ready for a new debate no one wants to hear

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football fans might not have noticed but something that happened in Omaha could impact the 2021 college football season. In the College World Series, North Carolina State (NCSU) had its second game with Vanderbilt declared a ‘no contest’ by the NCAA, after eight Wolfpack players tested positive for COVID. It was subsequently learned the eight positive tests were all caused by the Delta variant.

Wolfpack players were crushed by being unable to compete for a national title. Complaints of unfairness were common among NCSU fans and players. Whether the NCAA was right or wrong, the college baseball decision could impact the coming college football season.

So far, college athletes have been given the option to be vaccinated, rather than it being a requirement. While no official numbers are known, various media reports indicate many players have chosen to not be vaccinated.

What Alabama Football fans don’t want to hear

According to infectious disease experts, there is a growing concern about the Delta variant. Counts of new cases have recently gone up in areas of multiple states. According to numerous reports, most of the new cases are from the more transmissible and the more serious Delta variant. Most new hospitalizations and almost all recent deaths are from unvaccinated, Delta variant patients.

Public opinions on this issue reflect widely divergent opinions. Based on the vaccination rates in Alabama, it appears most Crimson Tide fans are not concerned about COVID, including the Delta variant.

What these Alabama football fans might become concerned about is how fall, college football games could become ‘no contest’ losses. We are not saying that will happen. But we are commenting it could happen. As reported by the FWAA, this week, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said,

"Commissioner Bob Bowlsby at Big 12 Media Days: COVID concerns for the upcoming college football season are not over and protocols are not in place yet. “The Delta Variant is real….not getting the COVID vaccine is rolling the dice and taking an unnecessary and unwarranted risk.”"

Bowlsby could be overreacting. He might be the only league Commissioner with a concern. Others suggest SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey might have a similar mindset. See Ralph Russo’s opinion below.

To be clear, SOL means positive, test-depleted teams, would lose games, rather than have them re-scheduled as the SEC did last season.

What will happen next?

The best-case scenario is in the coming weeks medical experts become less concerned about the Delta variant. That would result from decreasing new case counts rather than spikes. Another possibility is many more college athletes will change their minds and get vaccinated. If neither takes place, conferences and programs will act to ensure a season. One possible result of those actions is the outcomes of games will be affected.

dark. Next. Possible Freshmen Starters

At least one team has taken a step toward more controls over COVID risks for its program. Brett McMurphy reported any person covering any Notre Dame sports; at practices, games and press conferences, must be fully vaccinated.