We Should be Playing Football this Fall
A little over two weeks ago, Furman football players and fans were given news that left them completely and utterly disheartened. The email that there would be no Southern Conference season hit everyone’s inbox at 4:21pm on August 13. For someone who loves everything about football, this was unfathomable. From the tailgate to the field, I could not be more upset; football is a tradition integral to the Furman community. While I understand the rationale behind the decision, I cannot help but feel sorry for all the senior players and fans who were going to experience their final season as undergraduates. This empty and insatiable feeling only worsens when I look at my calendar and all the would-be games popping up on my alerts.
This upcoming Saturday marks what would have been the season opener against Wofford, which is always a marquee game for Furman and the Southern Conference. Not only were we squaring up against Wofford to kick start the season, but also traveling up to Knoxville on September 19 to play the University of Tennessee. These would have been riveting games for Furman fans and players. The news of this season being postponed is difficult to understand, given that the first game of the season was played with very few problems when Central Arkansas took on Austin Peay.
I believe that it would have been possible to continue the season if we abided by the same rules that other conferences are following. For example, according to a return-to-sport guideline from the NCAA Sport Science Institute, all athletes are allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about COVID-19, and any NCAA fall championship or other postseason contests must be conducted within enhanced safety protocols for student-athletes and essential athletics personnel.
I completely understand that Furman’s number one priority should be to keep everyone safe and ensure that all its students can learn in a safe environment. However, I do not believe that this means we cannot have a football season, or any other fall sports seasons for that matter. I truly believe that there is a way in which we could have football while maintaining a safe campus. If you were to ask all the current senior athletes if they would like to try for a season, I would be shocked if the answer was anything but a unanimous yes.