By LARRY VAUGHT
On Friday afternoon I listened to Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner Julian Tackett explain how their could not be any high school athletics until schools finally figured out when students would be back in the classrooms.
Later Friday NCAA president Mark Emmert basically said the same thing about college football and how he didn’t see games starting unless students were back on campus.
Emmert’s interview was shown on the NCAA’s Twitter account and Emmert said he feels there is a consensus among university officials that there will be no games if student are not back on class in some fashion.
“That doesn’t mean (the university) has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students,” Emmert said. “If a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”
Basically that’s what Tackett said and Emmert also agreed that decisions probably needed to be made in June — or by July 4th at the latest.
Emmert warned that to expect playing football in full stadiums was hard to foresee in 2020.
“Just because there’s some regulation that’s been lifted doesn’t mean that automatically means you should immediately put 105,000 fans in a football stadium. I think that the proper thing to do and the sensible thing to do is a phased approach. It’s plausible to me that early in the season, let’s just stick with football, you see a very limited fan access, but by later in the season, as things develop, hopefully in a very positive way, you all of sudden can see larger fan bases attending,” Emmert said.
But he also admitted he had to consider there could be another major COVID-19 outbreak. Maybe not nationwide but with so many teams and athletes Emmert knows an outbreak is a real possibility.
But Emmert also said that’s an optimistic perspective. There are scenarios that worry him and other college sports power brokers, scenarios they’re not sure how they’ll address if there is an outbreak during the season.
“The arithmetic is not in your favor if you think you’re not going to have any outbreaks. We’re working through all of these scenarios,” he said.
I also heard former UK football standout Jeremy Jarmon on the Paul Finebaum show last week. Jarmon is now a nurse working daily to battle COVID-19 and sees the battle we still face.
“I want to see football this fall. But I don’t want to see it at the expense of people losing loved ones, friends, family or grandparents. It’s not worth it at that point,” Jarmon, who is on the UK Radio Network pregame football shows, said.
Words of wisdom from Jarmon I think we should all do our best to remember and understand.