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College Football Is Not Essential Work

Where is health and safety as a priority?

Two big football conferences have suspended their college football seasons and two others, the Big 12 and SEC, have not. Why is that? Is it really all about money? My guess is absolutely! 

It is not about having to pay the players more, they don't get paid anyway. Football may be big business, but it is not essential. Is one university living up to what they say are their priorities?

Here are the University of Alabama's Core Values:


The University of Alabama is committed to:

  • Undergraduate education that produces socially-conscious, ethical and well-rounded leaders who are grounded in their subject matter and capable of controlling their own destinies.
  • Graduate education that is deeply vested in subject matter knowledge, professional content, research skills and creative activity.
  • Public outreach and service that is held in the highest regard and fosters impactful public engagement to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Alabama, the nation and the world.
  • Campus life that embodies collaboration, collegiality, respect and a culture of inclusivity.
As far as safety is concerned, read this:

"The safety and well-being of our students is one of our highest priorities. UA invests significant resources in a variety of activities and initiatives designed to increase security on our campus, increase your ability to make responsible decisions that enhance your well-being and leverage our positive relationship with local law enforcement agencies."

Likely because of school shootings and the possibility of sexual assault on campus, the word "safety" is confined to "security" and not wellness as related to health. 

I'll get my football crystal ball out. It does not predict the next national football champion, rather that those universities that are dissing the threat of COVID-19 will eventually have to shut down their football programs this fall. The charade about "being outdoors," etc. will fall apart when players test positive and eventually a player or coach or support staff becomes ill and then dies. Death is a great indicator that you are doing something that you should not be doing, like trying to take a selfie on a cliff's edge.

As Americans we look for "signs" that something is really not dangerous. In order measure the threat we like graphs and charts that mean little to individuals taking the risk. However, deaths remain a very good indicator.

My message to universities -- students first, football last. If that really is your priority.

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.