Governor Stitt Feels Good About a Football Season but Still Learning on Event Crowds
STILLWATER -- Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is a regular at Oklahoma State football games. The Norman native and now Tulsa resident is an Oklahoma State graduate. He and his family love sports. I saw him last year (2019) in the spring supporting one of his daughters in the OSSAA State Tennis Championships. I spoke with the Governor on Triple Play Sports Radio, Sports Talk with Robert Allen and Friends as he was on his way to Stillwater to give a speech on Friday (June 26).
Governor Stitt has kept Oklahoma moving and was one of the first governors to reopen his state. I told him that sports fans are really hoping for a football season and especially hoping that some of them, if not all can be in the stadium to cheer their team on.
"I agree with you that we need sports and I think we will have a football season," is how Gov. Stitt started. "I've spoke to the Commissioner of the Big 12 and talked to the Presidents at our two (Big 12) Universities and I think we are doing everything from an Oklahoma perspective to do it, to get it going. But you also have all of the other colleges in other parts of the country that may not be as willing to do it. So, it is still a little bit up in the air."
The past 10 days or so, Oklahoma has had an increase in positive tests for the coronavirus and have put more patients in hospital beds with the virus. However, the death toll has not really spiked and the majority of cases are recovering.
"Specifically on COVID, I want to share with Oklahomans a little about that," the Governor continued. "Oklahoma just handled COVID-19 better than any other state in my opinion. The President and Vice-President were in Tulsa last Saturday and they both agreed that Oklahoma has handled the COVID situation better than any other state. You have to remember that we're just 64 days into our reopening plan. When you say we had a spike (of COVID cases) it's that we've had an uptick and we expected that.because we've been fully reopened since June 1. The goal never was to have zero cases and these states that are trying to bunker in place for months and months and months, when they do reopen they are also going to have an increase. We have to learn to be safe, take care of each other, and change some of our social patterns because we may be dealing with this for the next 24 months."
Little league baseball, youth baseball has been going for several weeks no, but on June 30 in Tulsa, the Tulsa Drillers will open up OneOk Ballpark to a special Texas Collegiate League season. Social spacing of three seats between groups and using odd numbered rows only with help. It will be a good gauge for football in the fall.
"Absolutely, and I think it is the right first step," Gov. Stitt agreed with the modified summer collegiate Texas League play in Tulsa. "Again, we've been open since June 1, so I think churches are doing the right thing and little league baseball too. Remember, when the government tries to fix something they end up breaking three other things. If you look at our schools being shut down, restaurants, unemployment going up, and the suicide rate going up you have all other things going on. Actually DHS, my DHS director, the department of human services, the reports of abuse have gone down by 40 percent. When you look at that the reason is that most of the reports come in from teachers, coaches, and restaurants, and so their are other things happening in our state and our country right now because we are trying to fix one thing."
Right behind college football in the state is the love of high school football and Stitt doesn't have direct control of the education process as the State Superintendent of Education Joy Hofmeister and the schools themselves through the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association have control of high school sports like football.
"I meet with her and I'm pushing for reopening and getting our kids back in school," said the Governor. "It is important to get our kids back in school. I ask governors in other states what they think will happen, because I believe we have to get back to living our lives and keep people safe because we are going to be dealing with this for awhile."
That is the issue and there is about another four weeks for Oklahoma State University and others to eyeball, study, and interpret the best plan for football and how Boone Pickens Stadium might look on the field and in the stands on Thursday, Sept. 3 if Oregon State is there to help the Cowboys open the 2020 college football season in this state.