Will There be a College Football Season in Knoxville? – A Realistic Look

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Will There be a College Football Season in Knoxville? – A Realistic Look

At first glance this may seem like another attention getting title with no real substance that we have all grown used to in the media.

I assure you. It’s not.

We are going to dive in and take an in depth look at all of the factors, at least all of the factors that we can have influence on the decision of whether our boys in orange will suit up this year or not.

A few of the things that we are going to consider as factors and base our option on are:

  • The money – In my opinion everything starts and ends there. If the money wasn’t a factor, this is a conversation that probably wouldn’t be happening. So, we are going to take a look at how much the Football program brings into the university, the media and the local community. The main question here is how much risk are we willing to take in order to minimize the financial losses this year?
  • COVID-19 – This may seem obvious, because Corona Virus is the main reason this conversation is even happening, but we can’t just look at the numbers and how this virus is trending. We have to also look at pubic option and decision makers thoughts and opinions. What do people really think about this virus?
  • Safety – Is it actually possible to put enough precautions in place to have fans in a stadium? If it’s not possible would the season be played without fans?
  • Fans – If a season were to happen, would fans actually go to the games or would most opt to just watch the game at home and would fans refusing to go to the games possibly change the decision to have a season or not?

Now let’s take an in depth look at each of these and make an option based decision to play or not.

The money

Have you ever watched one of those movies or television shows where there’s a scumbag lawyer giving some poor family an insanely low settlement check from an insurance company in return for the death of a loved one due to some technicality?

It always brings up the question of “what is the value of a human life?”

It’s a question that can not be answered, but depending on your own personal view of the actual risk involved with paying a season and knowingly putting players, coaches and fans in harms way, could the decision makers of these athletic organizations be assigning a value to a human life?

That’s for you to decide. Personally, I don’t believe that’s the case, but the moment one athlete, coach or fan passes away due to the contraction of COVID-19 at a sporting event, that opinion could change.

Which brings us to the question of the day. How much is at stake and is it worth the risk?

According to ESPN, universities have already suffered losses in the hundreds of millions.

“If there’s no football season, or if football season is interrupted or shortened, there will be a massive fallout,” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said. “There would have to be massive cutbacks. Could the department go on? Sure. It would probably look smaller. There would potentially be fewer sports and much less programming.”

Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis estimates that the 65 Power 5 schools would collectively lose more than $4 billion in football revenues, with at least $1.2 billion of that due to lost ticket revenue. Each Power 5 school would see at least an average loss of $62 million in football revenue, including at least $18.6 million in football ticket sales, he said.

Rishe’s projections don’t include potential losses in media revenue, conference distributions, donations and revenues from corporate partnerships.

In addition, it’s been said that major media companies could lose up to 800 Million dollars in advertising revenue. Last year ESPN’s family of networks televised 282 games and sold $792.5 million in ads, according to Standard Media Index.

So, when it comes to the financial setbacks, they are massive and a canceled college football season would be a devastating hit to many organizations.

The question remains though, is the risk worth the reward?

COVID-19

This pandemic has been one of the most interesting in history.

Normally, when there is a legitimate virus with high rates of infection and no cure or immunization there is a significant cause for concern.

However, it seems that opinions on this virus range from a political hoax to stay in your home and never leave.

There have been articles of inaccurate reporting from major media outlets such as The Atlantic and even Military.com reported that TriCare, which is the Military’s primary insurance provider told 600K Beneficiaries They’ve Had COVID-19.

The media is all over the place which can often instill a sense of doubt into the minds of the people who listen.

Maybe that’s the reason that there is so much divide between the thoughts and opinions of the American people on this virus.

The doubt causes people to ask questions. Questions like:

Is it even real?

If it is real are the infection and death rates even accurate?

There has even been media conflicts on the merits of something as simple as wearing a mask. So now, in certain areas the local governments are requiring the wear of a face covering in public places, but the media has instilled doubt and people are refusing to do so.

To some this is a serious pandemic and to others it’s a joke and there is probably some unseen or underlying motive.

I said all of this to point out that we can’t even agree on or without a doubt determine if it’s beneficial to do something as simple as wear a mask in public.

I have no idea if the decision makers are going to be able to agree on the merits of this virus. After all, they see the same media as each of us.

Some are likely believers and some are doubters. The question is are there more believers or doubters. Even if there are more believers in the virus in general do they have enough information to say for certain that the virus is deadly enough to justify the loss of billions of dollars?

Safety

Like many Americans, I want to see college football in 2020. I’ve been waiting a long time now and am anxious for the season to start.

There is a lot of hype behind out beloved Vols this year and personally, I’m on the hype train. I think if we get to play, this is going to be a good year for Tennessee Football.

Can we play the game and do it in a manner that is safe for our players, coaches, staff and fans?

I guess that really depends on what your personal thoughts are about the virus.

The players and coaches are mainly in controlled environments and with excellent advisors, medical staff and the use of personal protective equipment, I do believe there is a way to keep them safe.

The fans however, are a different story. They are not in a controlled environment. They will come into contact with other fans if they attend games.

The current guidance is to wear a facemark and maintain a distance of six feet from other people. If my napkin math is correct, the six feet seperation can be achieved at approximately a stadium capacity of 30 percent while all fans are seated.

However, fans still have to go through the gates, the restrooms and crawl over other fans to get to their middle isle seats.

Regardless of the stadium capacity fans will come into contact momentarily with other fans. I don’t see any way for fans to maintain the recommended separation distance of six feet for the entire duration of the game. There will be some risk for fans attending games, but no more than what you would experience at the grocery store.

Fans

Considering the debate on the validity of the virus, the current risks people are willing to take in their daily lives anyway and the deep passion for Tennessee Football within this community, I see no scenario that Universities allow fans to attend games and attendance is not at maximum allowable capacity for every home game.

Will there be a season?

In my opinion, yes.

Currently, even the worst statistics show a survival rate of over 99 percent and while I don’t mean to downplay that because there are people losing their lives it’s a factual number.

I don’t know what the cost of a human life is valued at in 2020, but in my opinion, I think it’s probably less than these universities and major media outlets are projected to lose.

Petitions

I have started two petitions. One to have a college football season and one to cancel it. Sign the one you agree with and let’s see what the majority of people think.

College Football 2020 – Let them play!

College Football – Don’t play in 2020!

Share the petition you signed!



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