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Coronavirus Questions

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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While all of us are excited for the possibility of kickoff, our approach must be deliberate, slow and steady, not our typical all-out sprint.

The impact of the coronavirus continues to be a staggering one globally and in the United States. In terms of its effect on college football, all parties involved, from coaches and players to university officials and medical personnel, must remain vigilant as they are. Recent news of Clemson reportedly having up to 37 positive tests and LSU quarantining at least 30 players, among results from other programs, is striking. Even if cases are asymptomatic, the threat of the virus spreading to others still very much remains. Information is the best gameplan for all that awaits and  results can help shape our still-evolving perspective. 

As we look ahead to the start of the season, these numbers are eye-opening. "How" is as difficult of a question to answer as ever. 

Mid-summer testing figures won't immediately shape what happens in the fall, but they should absolutely serve as an indicator of what could potentially come. At the very least, they should be a stark reminder of just how prevelent covid-19 is and can be. Protocols need to be established to the fullest extent and everyone, especially those directly involved, have to stay on their toes and, in terms of planning, ready to adjust. Simply put, there are countless scenarios leaders must currently be considering. 

While all of us are excited for the possibility of kickoff, our approach must be deliberate, slow and steady, not our typical all-out sprint.

Aforementioned headlines only reinforce the importance of what is at play. Thoughts must continue to be fluid and comprehensive. Whether the logistics of a daily schedule or the response when a positive test arises, programs will have to have clear plans already in place. If there is to be college football in September, potential possibilities need to be accounted for in June. Though some of what may happen is beyond anyone's control, the elements that can be accounted for, in terms of later in the year, should be taking shape now.     

In some ways, programs will need answers before even knowing the full extent of the questions. It's a very difficult and very important job.   

Needless to say, there are overwhelming complexities here. Correspondingly, there is no modern precedent. Logistics like daily schedules, campus routines and gameday travel are currently hard to detail or account for. Practices may have to be different. Games may have to be postponed or even cancelled, potentially on a large or comprehensive scale. The possibility of no football is a potential reality. Through whatever comes, medical guidance must be the basis for any and all decisions made. The safety of those involved is obviously paramount; anything after that is secondary. 

Student-athletes need both access to the latest information and an open line of communication with coaches and administrators to share their honest opinions. It will be critical that players have the opportunity to talk about their feelings, especially if they have any doubts about taking the field. That open dialogue needs to be an important part of any program's covid-related infrastructure.        

Hoping for the best, but planning for the worst; that will be college football's preseason. It's a process that is already well underway.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports