Big Ten sports are back

Jessie Castellano, Contributing Writer

Last week it was announced that Big Ten football will officially begin the weekend of Oct. 22 after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the Big Ten was one of many college leagues that postponed their season, setting a precedent for many other schools to follow suit. They decided that the health and safety of their players was more important than the season, but now due to low revenue and other teams participating, they have reversed their decision. Is this what the players truly want? If so, is the danger worth the money and potential fame?

Some of the Big Ten’s financial concerns are, admittedly, understandable. The chief producer of revenue for college football is ticket sales; a sold-out stadium during a big game can bring in massive amounts of revenue for a school. This year, Big Ten football faces a massive revenue decline already, but with no season at all, more fiscal problems are bound to occur. This is the driving factor for the league president’s decision to resume the season. Each team will attempt to play eight games in only eight weeks. All games should be complete in time for the College Playoff selection date on Dec. 20. The problem with only eight games, however, is the threat of cancellations and postponements due to viral outbreaks.

In August, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren organized a “return to competition” task force, which was tasked with conducting daily rapid testing to monitor the players’ health. The results of these tests must be recorded before each practice or game. Despite the good intentions of this task force, daily testing may leave difficulties unaddressed within the team. If one member tests positive, for instance, he must wait 21 days before returning to competition; however, that player would have been in contact with the rest of his team, leading to even more athletes sitting out and, eventually, the ultimate cancellation of these games.

Nevertheless, most of these athletes do want a full season, especially seniors and potential NFL prospects. Most are willing to put their health on the line, but it may not be worth it. Health care professionals have no understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19. It leads to different heart conditions that could someday end an athlete’s career if infected with it while competing. The effects of this virus are unknown and can lead to greater conditions later in life.

The Big Ten is not the only group making decisions like this due to financial troubles. Many companies and businesses return to work in hopes of a push toward normalcy. U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed his support in the Big Ten’s decision and wishes them the best of luck. In a larger sense, Trump — along with the lion’s share of corporate America — is pushing for an end to the pandemic lockdowns and a return to regular economic activity. There is a great chance that all these attempts will fail and further immiserate the United States. If we push too hard against the virus, there can be a second wave and it may last longer than expected. Hopefully, Big Ten’s efforts, along with the rest of America’s will not fail and will prompt a push in a better direction.

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