Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

School is Not Safe for Students - But of Course, It’s Safe for Athletes [UPDATED]

The UNC student newspaper pulled no punches in describing the situation in Chapel Hill.
The UNC student newspaper pulled no punches in describing the situation in Chapel Hill.
Screenshot: The Daily Tarheel

The pandemic continues to expose the glaring dysfunction in our society. This time in college sports.

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Yesterday, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill closed its campus after 130 students tested positive for COVID-19, registering a staggering 13 percent positivity rate. Students returned home just one week after move-in day to continue their education online.

But fall athletes, naturally, are still in Chapel Hill.

In the words of The Daily Tar Heel, “UNC has a clusterfuck on its hands.”

The school’s athletic program issued a statement saying, “workouts and practices will continue under the standards set by our University, health officials and department.” And that “the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and community remains our priority.”

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So students who give tuition to the school will go home and athletes who make money for the school will stay. Sounds about right.

If health and safety were actually a priority, athletes would be nowhere near the campus hot spot.

On CNN this morning, UNC student body president, Reeves Moseey, said that he does not know how the school will “be able to explain” athletes remaining on campus while students are forced back home. “How is the ACC going to be able to bring people into these communities that are seeing a rise in cases already?” Cases, of course, that are being brought in due to the influx of returning undergraduates.

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On Sunday, college sports chief medical officer, Brian Hainline, worried that returning students could create “the downfall” of college sports this fall. Nearly 24 hours later, Hainline’s theory has concrete evidence with UNC and now, potentially, Notre Dame.

Notre Dame saw their COVID caseload rise from 58 to 147 overnight.

The UND football program is preparing for an outbreak not by leaving campus, but by getting back up players and coaches ready for the season.

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The way college re-openings are going, UNC and Notre Dame will be the first of many institutions that will close their campus to students and let fall athletes compete.

The ACC, a conference desperate to play football in the fall, will continue to come up with any reason to play fall sports. According to CBS’s Jon Rothstein, medical personnel told one ACC President that the best option for the conference is to move athletes to remote learning and use school facilities to practice and play games.

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UNC basketball player, Garrison O. Brooks, pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of the report.

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When students flee for safety and athletes are left on campus, that should tell you everything you need to know about the priorities of these institutions of higher learning and their member conferences.

Big-time college athletes operate under a different set of rules that would not be acceptable for other students.

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You probably knew that. But, now it’s too obvious to look away.

Updated: Since publishing this story, UNC has decided to put a pause on school sponsored athletics for… one whole day! UNC’s athletic department will suspend athletic activities for all teams until 5 p.m. EST, Thursday. One day without practice will surely stop the spread, right?

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