Coach Mack Brown On Return of Football, 'If It's Not Safe For Fans, It's Not Safe For Athletes'
As a fan, what questions cross your mind concerning the upcoming football and basketball season? Is it wondering if you'll be able to attend or wondering if there will be a season at all? Both questions go hand in hand. If there is a season, but fans can't attend, is there even a point for having a season? College football and basketball are the highest-grossing programs from universities such as UNC; Without fan participation and no revenue coming in, the upkeep of staff and programs would be difficult to maintain. Essentially, without you, the fan, there is no sports.
Head Football coach Mack Brown appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show, which airs on the SEC Network. At the 4:15 slot, Mack Brown spoke extensively on the impact of Coronavirus, the return of football and what he's heard regarding the return of athletes to campus,
"I'm hearing we may be able to come back as a team in July. That's the first time; it looks like they might let us come back to campus. That would give us a month to prepare for our preseason, starting in August. And, Paul, that's what I'm planning on doing. Our guys are breaking down every game. We're actually going through spring practice in our mind right now with our installation, and they're meeting with the kids and saying, 'OK, here's what we'll do today,' and we're trying to keep as much routine as possible. But I think it would be wrong of me to tell our guys, 'Hey, we might not play.' And then that could be working out. It doesn't fit for me."
"So for my mindset and I really believe this, I think we'll play in the fall. A lot of people don't. I have no clue because I'm not a doctor. And I can't see us playing without fans because if it's not safe enough for the fans, then it's not safe enough for the players. So I think if everybody is doing what they're supposed to do, follow the guidelines and I'm really trying, it's hard for all of us, but keep your social-distancing, wash your hands and don't go out unless you really, really need to or have to. And then be careful when you go out."
Brown also highlighted a topic that every coach, health care worker and expert in any field has stressed, regardless of where this pandemic ends up, virtual communication will become a new standard and allow professionals to teach, learn and connect on a different level. Zoom, social media, applications, and online communications are all techniques older generations have to learn to assimilate to the times; in a short amount of time.
There has not been any official word from health officials or the NCAA regarding the return of student-athletes to universities. Head basketball coach Roy Williams has stated that the second summer school session, which starts in June, has been canceled. Even if students can return in July, not being able to get a start on school during the summer can add another stress to an incoming freshman; Not only do they immediately perform on the field but in the classroom.