Great America

Political Football Is No Substitute For the Real Thing

Many people who are not engaged politically will recoil at pin-headed dilettantes canceling college football because of politics.

The most material political news that broke this week was not the selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as Joe Biden’s running mate, but the disastrous decision of major college football conferences to cancel their 2020 seasons. Specifically, in battleground Midwest states, legions of football fans who may not be particularly politically oriented will become animated to punish candidates unwilling to vociferously defend football. 

“I cannot believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary,” legendary college football coach Lou Holtz once said. His observation certainly rings true pertaining to America. As a people, we have long embraced an exceptional view of our place in the world and our national potential. Even the games we play exemplify our exceptionalism—none quite so much as football.

More than just a game, football forms a key pillar of our national culture and consciousness. For generations, football has helped to transform American boys into men, all the while providing scintillating entertainment for fans who cannot get enough of gridiron action. 

Given this backdrop, the decision of major college conferencesespecially the Big Ten and PAC 12to abandon football this fall, understandably disgusts Americans. The soft and selfish administrators of universities and their NCAA conferences have stolen a season away from young athletes and deprived adoring alumni and fans of the rituals of autumn. 

Why? For politics. 

Like many lockdown charlatans, these college presidents and administrators hide behind bogus claims of “science.” But the actual reality of the virus substantiates that young people are overwhelmingly not vulnerable to COVID-19. As with any disease, there will be heartbreaking outlier cases of serious health consequences, but we never submit to societal closure to ward off manageable risks that are infinitesimally small. Accordingly, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly support in-person schooling for children and young adults. 

Looking specifically at sports, young athletes comprise the very definition of people who are nearly totally immune to dire ramifications of the virus. Not only are elite athletes like Division 1 college football players young and physically strong, but they are also beneficiaries of perhaps the best medical and physical care of anyone in society.

We are all called to be better than ordinary. Part of being extraordinary—as Americans—is celebrating our national sport of football.

Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford’s Hoover Institution was formerly chief of radiology at that university’s medical center, and recently joined the president’s coronavirus task force. He told Martha MacCallum of Fox News that “the environment of college sports is a very, very sophisticated environment . . . they couldn’t get a better and safer environment.”  

Dr. Atlas continued: “we have to again become rational here. The risk for people that age is less than seasonal influenza . . . we need to get a grip, look at the science, understand who we are talking about here. There’s not a lot of obese, diabetic 78-year-olds playing football.”

Despite the clear scientific evidence, a corrupt campaign has largely succeeded in canceling much of college football this year. So far, among major conferences, only the SEC, Big 12, and the ACC remain committed to safely playing football, starting in just a few weeks. 

It’s clearly no coincidence that those conference maps largely overlay with red states in America, while the inverse is true of the now-canceled Big Ten and PAC 12 conferences. What seems clear here: politics drives this dreadful decision-making.

University officials overwhelmingly lean to the left. For example, a Harvard Crimson survey of that school’s faculty reports that 80 percent of professors identify as liberal while only 1.6 percent identify as conservatives.  Students acknowledge this reality, as a 2019 College Fix poll found that 73 percent of conservative students hide their politics from professors for fear of retribution via poor grading. It is not a reach to conclude that liberal university officials, with the constant support of a highly left-leaning sports-media complex, aggressively embrace a position of paranoia that will depress our society, economically and psychologically.

President Trump quite correctly ascertains this reality and argues strenuously for college football to play on. Trump recognizes that young people in our country can largely return to normal routines of school, extra-curriculars, and sports. College athletics represents a pageantry and affinity like no other sport. Many people who are not politically engaged understandably will recoil at pin-headed dilettantes canceling college football because of politics. 

In fact, once the mostly-southern SEC and ACC schools pull off a safe and fun season of football, I predict Donald Trump will rightly earn the electoral support of many of the bitterly-disappointed football fans in the upper Midwest. The faithful fans of the Gophers, Badgers, Wolverines, Spartans, Buckeyes, and Nittany Lions will know that they were robbed of their football Saturdays by dishonest and conflicted political actors. 

Thankfully, the military academies promise to play football. Perhaps those games will gain an elevated status this season? Trump the commander-in-chief could attend all three of those contests and showcase our country’s ability to appropriately handle health risks while still maintaining our way of life and enthusiasm for the great game of football. Perhaps these games will even be played in these Midwest states suddenly deprived of football by inept college administrators? 

After all, as Coach Holtz exhorted us, we are all called to be better than ordinary. Part of being extraordinaryas Americansis celebrating our national sport of football.