Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh Advocates to Play 2020 CFB Season amid Coronavirus

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, right, congratulates tight end Nick Eubanks (82) after he caught a 7-yard touchdown pass against Alabama during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Big Ten has reportedly voted to cancel its college football season, according to the Detroit Free Press, and Jim Harbaugh isn't happy about it.

The Michigan Wolverines head coach released a statement Monday in which he advocated for the season to go ahead as scheduled (h/t Tom VanHaaren of ESPN):

Tom VanHaaren @TomVH

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh released a statement on why he’s advocating they play football this season citing recent numbers and protocols followed https://t.co/8SBHPlSlQv

Harbaugh's primary argument is that Michigan's football team has registered 11 positive test results out of 893 total tests and has complied with all of the health and safety guidelines set before it, leading him to believe the Wolverines could safely hold their season.

The counterargument, however, is keeping that up throughout an entire season will be tough to accomplish, especially as it pertains to college students, who may be enticed to go to parties or social gatherings. There is also travel to consider and the added risk that entails.

Schools also have to consider liability concerns, and they face the ethical question of expecting unpaid athletes to put their health at risk to play a game that makes millions of dollars for other people.

It is one thing if Harbaugh—set to make more than $8 million this season—is comfortable putting his health at risk. But for young, unpaid athletes to do so is another conversation entirely, especially with the potential long-term risks that could be associated with the coronavirus.

And what happens to the schedule if one team has an outbreak, much like the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball, forcing each team to postpone a chunk of its season? Would that college football team have to cancel games altogether? How would a conference like the Big Ten handle such a situation?

Those factors and complications don't mean college football players around the country want to see the season canceled. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is among those who want to play:

Trevor Lawrence @Trevorlawrencee

People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19 (1)

Trevor Lawrence @Trevorlawrencee

Players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions

But it is looking more and more possible that the 2020 college football season will either be canceled or postponed until the spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the protestation of coaches like Harbaugh, it appears as though the Big Ten season will be canned.