Former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana, who won four Super Bowls from 1981 to 1989, told Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today that he would have opted out of the 2020 college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic if he was an active player:
"For me, I think I would've gone after the safety of my health first, in the end. Because we're not talking about the flu or a cold. This thing is killing people everywhere and not by one or two here and there. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds a day, thousands."
Montana played college football at Notre Dame from 1974 to 1978 before the 49ers selected him in the third round of the 1979 NFL draft.
The former Fighting Irish star wished that college football's powerbrokers would make the right calls for college football players: "I think in the end, I hope somebody makes the right decision for them and would've made it for me because I'm sure I would be wanting to play," Montana said.
College football conferences have been canceling or postponing their 2020 fall football seasons en masse of late, with the Big Ten and Pac-12 doing so this week. Other leagues that have shut down their campaigns include the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference.
The Big 12 will attempt to hold an adjusted 2020 slate, with the bulk of opponents being in-conference. The SEC and ACC have yet to make official decisions.
Student-athletes can opt out of their fall seasons without penalty of losing their scholarships, per an NCAA Board of Governors ruling.
Professional leagues have also granted athletes the opportunity to opt out of their seasons because of the pandemic. The NFL allowed players to opt out of the 2020 season voluntarily, and in return, those players would receive a $150,000 salary advance and have their contracts tolled into 2021.
NFL players who are deemed as being in a high-risk medical category because of COVID-19 received a $350,000 stipend and also had their contracts toll.