Way back when in August 2020, the Daily Tar Heel, UNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, wrote in a headline that the school had a “clusterfuck” on its hands.
Students were returning to campus and contracting COVID-19 at an alarming rate. Just a week after move-in day, the university recorded a 13 percent positivity rate, closed the campus, and sent students home. Well, almost all the students.
UNC’s fall athletes stayed on campus.
The University of Michigan has now given an immediate stay at home order to all undergrads due to a concerning number of cases on campus. The Michigan football program will not be impacted by the order.
“The situation locally has become critical, and this order is necessary to reverse the current increase in cases,” Jimena Loveluck, a Washtenaw County health officer, said in a statement. “We must continue to do what we can to minimize the impact on the broader community and to ensure we have the public health capacity to fully investigate cases and prevent additional spread of illness.”
Washtenaw County cases started to spike once students began returning to campus. Now, under the new stay-in-place order, students can leave campus or stay put in their residences.
If there is any silver lining to college sports in a pandemic, it’s that COVID-19 has revealed the rot of amateurism. There are different rules for “amateur” athletes who generate money for the university versus the majority of students who do not.
Since making the rash decision to bring football back, the Big Ten has watched as the virus, which continues to spread across the country and midwest unimpeded, infect not just countless players throughout the various conferences, but coaches, as well.
“It’s pretty clear that it’s money that’s driving these decisions, rather than what’s best for the athletes,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), told Deadspin before the college football season even began.
“If you aren’t going to have two different sets of rules,” Murphy, a college sports fan himself, continues, “then treat the players as employees rather than pretending they are students when they clearly are not.”
The Wolverines will open their season at Minnesota on Saturday night.