Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
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Shortened college season might be the answer
Monday morning there was a heart-warming post on Facebook from Fitz Hill.
Hill is known for a lot of things, mostly concerning football beginning with days at Arkadelphia High and then Ouachita Baptist as a player and later as a coach, including head coach at San Jose State.
Hill has never quit studying and got his doctorate. He became a college president and even hosts his own radio show on 103.7, The Buzz, where he’s Doctor Football.
The post was about being a dad.
That covid-19 had sent his son Justice home before he reported to Murray State, which hasn’t allowed athletes back on campus yet, to resume his basketball career.
They have spent that time getting Justice into the best shape of his life, and it has been a work of love between them and done with proper social distancing.
Hill said this might be the last time he gets to work his son out, and millions know that feeling of sending their children away to college.
Some might even be doing it this fall, depending on the coronavirus, although medical companies around the world have reached the stage where they are testing on humans for a vaccine.
Just below Hill’s post was one about movie star Chuck Norris dying from the virus and another post about a man suffering through the ravages of covid-19.
He’s probably not worried about having a college football season, but it seems to be all systems go, and the thing on most people’s minds is how many fans will be allowed in stadiums.
Ohio State did make all of its players sign a waiver that it would not hold the school responsible if they get the virus.
Since players started returning to campus eight days ago, there are almost daily reports like Alabama having seven players test positive or Oklahoma State three or Iowa State 10 athletes.
The University of Houston had to send all of its athletes back home.
This is not a political column.
Obviously, the country could not stay in a lockdown and avoid another financial depression.
In fact, yours truly is hoping there is a college football season, even if it is a shortened one that doesn’t begin until the first of October, which would give the teams an extra month to get in shape and the scientists another month to find some way to control this virus.
The PGA proved last weekend that you can participate without fans, but golfers seldom get 6 inches from each others’ sweat-soaked faces and scream at one another.
It appears college athletic officials are taking their lead from the NFL, which seems determined to cash in on its return whether players kneel or not.
There’s a huge difference though. The NFL is professional football players, not college athletes.
No doubt the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State, University of Central Arkansas and all the other football-playing schools are doing everything they can to protect these athletes on campus.
Yet, pictures in Monday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette showed high school athletes working out. Some were wearing protective masks, some wearing them as chin straps (which doesn’t help), and some without masks.
The majority of the infectious disease experts have changed their tune and say masks can help not catch the virus.
If you aren’t wearing a mask when you can’t use social distancing, then you are hurting the chances of college football being played this fall.
It is hard to believe SEC football fans aren’t willing to wear a mask so they can have their Saturday religion back.
Until there is a vaccine, everyone needs to do their part to stop the pandemic and it starts with a mask and social distancing.
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