Michigan’s Harbaugh says football can be played safely
Amid reports the Big Ten is on the verge of pulling the plug on college football this fall, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said teams can play safely even as the coronavirus swirls around the nation.
“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” Harbaugh wrote in a lengthy statement.
He cited a number of statistics about his program to back up his case, including:
–11 positive tests out of 893 administered since players returned to campus
–Two positive tests out of the past 417, including none out of the past 353 administered
–No contract tracing to football facilities
–Persistent following of all CDC guidelines and self-imposed rules that he said exceed those of the CDC
–No positive tests among coaches or staff
The same can’t be said for the rest of the Big Ten, however.
On July 25, Rutgers announced that it had placed its entire football program in quarantine after six positive tests for COVID-19. According to the university, the football program had has 10 total positive tests since returning to campus on June 15.
A day earlier, Michigan State announced a 14-day quarantine for its program.
“This isn’t easy. This is hard,” Harbaugh wrote.
“It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results. We respect the challenge that the virus has presented, however we will not cower from it.”
And he pointed to Michigan’s model as proof players can avoid contracting the virus.
We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play,” he wrote. “If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.”
He ended his statement with the hashtag #WEWANTTOCOACH, piggybacking on the #WEWANTTOPLAY movement launched by several prominent players. Other coaches from high school to the college ranks have added the #WEWANTTOCOACH tag on social media.
–Field Level Media