Obviously the coronavirus pandemic is much bigger than college football, but it has been a tough weekend for fans hoping the upcoming season will start on time and be completed in full.
After a Thursday report out of Texas said 13 football players tested positive or were presumed positive for the coronavirus, Friday saw reports of Clemson's football program tally 23 COVID-19 cases, among 28 total positives within the school's athletic programs after 315 people were tested.
Yesterday, Kansas State confirmed 14 of 130 athletes had tested positive, forcing the school to suspend football activities for the next two weeks.
Due in part to the recent spate of negative news about positive tests, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports wrote yesterday fear of the virus impacting the collegiate football season is on the rise.
The recent positive tests, the ongoing unpredictability of the virus itself, and each school's ability to effectively implement contact tracing, testing and quarantine athletes are all problematic issues.
A few administrators offered discouraging commentary:
“I’m way less convinced we will play [football] than I was a few weeks ago,” one athletic director told Yahoo Sports.
One FBS coach summed up his uneasiness with the risks and complications this way: “I think there will be people who’ll be playing football. I just don’t know for how long or how much.”
One industry source summed up the tenor as one of “overall discouragement.” Another college athletics industry source told Yahoo Sports there’s been “more pessimism the last few days than in weeks.” The source added that the negative feelings have transcended athletics, as college presidents are again concerned about the prospect of in-person classes being held.
Positive tests were always going to happen, so that shouldn't be a surprise, but there's no question concerns around how the pandemic will impact the season have ratcheted up in recent days.