Amid reports that the Big Ten will pull the plug on the 2020 college football season, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has spoken out in favor of playing.
“I would like to address the rumors that are swirling today,” Harbaugh said. “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 then recites various facts, from the number of positive tests for the Michigan players (11 out of 893 tests, zero in the past 353), no positive tests for any coaches or staff, and no contact tracing to Michigan’s football facilities.
“This isn’t easy,” Harbaugh said. “This is hard. 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.” He concludes the statement by quoting Theodore Roosevelt, explaining that he advocates for fall football “so that our place will not be among the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Even if everything he’s saying is entirely accurate, other programs haven’t had the same success that Michigan has enjoyed. And Michigan players eventually will be on the field with those players.
That’s the overriding problem with college football. There hasn’t been a uniform, centralized approach. If there had been — if every school had done what Michigan did — the dominant topic on August 10 wouldn’t be whether college football season will implode.