College Sports Should Have a Different Standard Than The Pros When it Comes To Reopening
All of the major professional sports are in the process of figuring out how to get some sort of a season in this summer and fall. While college programs have been having mixed results getting kids back to campus, as schools like Clemson have had almost half their team test positive while all of Indiana's team resutls have come back negative.
Earlier today on SI.com, various writers discussed whether or not college athletes should be held to the same or different standards as their professional counterparts. All of the participants agreed with the premise that the college players should have different expectations for the following reasons:
* They aren't getting paid. While many may argue that a tuition scholarship may constitute getting paid, various rulings have showed that it does not count. Pro players are doing this because they are being paid at least six figures, while college players are basically getting their education and room and board paid for.
* Campuses are going to be a huge problem. While leagues like the NBA are planning on sequestering in isolated hotels at Disney World, college sports are awaiting the inevitable influx of thousands of students from all over the country. Professional teams can hopefully mitigate large groups of people from interacting with their athletes, while college campuses will be a huge problem. As John Hoover of All Sooners said "As part of the everyday campus community, and as athletes who also have classroom responsibilities, their exposure will be far greater.".
* Finally there will be inconsistencies amongst programs in terms of testing and treatment. At least at the professional level it should be consistent for all teams as the leagues have set their standards. At the college level right now it is a free for all. Brooks Austin of Dawgs Daily said "On the collegiate level, however, every program has a different method of taking precautionary measures along with a different level of funding." Those mixed standards will be a big problem at the college level.
I agree with the other writers that college sports should be held to a different standard than professional sports. If a college athlete does not want to risk the possibility of infection, he/she should be able to sit out and take the year as a medical redshirt.
The University of Indiana looks to have the gold standard for how they treat this situation. While athletes still have a pledge it is for "reporting exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19; agreeing to self-isolate and participate in contact tracing if you are determined to be positive for COVID-19; and wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and taking other safety precautions." Also if an athlete does not want to risk their health, they can sit out the year and the school honors their scholarship.
What do you think? Do you believe college athletes should be held to a different standard than the pros? Leave your comments below.
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(Photo courtesy of BC Eagles.com)