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Eye on the Y: With the year coming to an end, was the college football season worth it?

The season brought joy and a sense of normalcy to players and fans, but at what cost? We may never know.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) tosses a shovel pass to Brigham Young Cougars tight end Masen Wake (13), in football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the UTSA Roadrunners, at Lavell Edwards stadium, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.

I recently read a New York Times story about the college football season. It posed a good question: Was the season worth it?
It’s a very lengthy story, but you can read it here.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think we’ll know the full repercussions of letting teams play for years to come.
The story followed Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and how he struggled with the decision of what to do — let his teams play or cancel the season. The most troubling concern about COVID-19, even if one doesn’t get severe symptoms or if they happen to be asymptomatic, is that we don’t know how the virus can affect people long term.
When the Pac 12 was discussing its options for the 2020 season, medical staff brought up the concern about possible myocarditis. It seems that was the main reason Warren was erring on not having a season. Multiple Big Ten athletes were having heart issues after recovering from COVID-19.
If you don’t want to read through the whole story, here’s an excerpt about that topic:
“Even more troubling, concerns about myocarditis had started to surface around the country. An inflammation usually caused by a viral infection, it can in rare instances lead to cardiac arrest. Several Big Ten athletes had struggled with heart problems after contracting Covid-19, including one Indiana football player who was rushed to the emergency room. Some doctors on the call told Warren that they weren’t comfortable starting a season until the relationship between the conditions was better understood. One mentioned the Hippocratic oath.”
Ultimately, the financial burden of not having a football season became too heavy, and each program instilled protocols and had medical staff on call for any issue that may arise. So, Warren moved ahead with the season. (Obviously, more happened between the time he suspended the season and green-lit it, but I’m trying to condense things here.)
The cities and states where the Big Ten programs reside saw the same issue as BYU did — coronavirus cases went up. Whether it was a direct correlation to football, or more-so just because of the return of college classes, how responsible were teams for the rise of cases?
In Utah, our death toll has been smaller than the majority of states. That’s understandable as the Beehive state is the youngest in the country, but even one death is one death too many because they’re all preventable.
I will say, I saw how much joy the Cougars’ games brought to fans, but I’m worried about what it may have cost us. Or who it may have cost us.
The NYT article ended with the same sentiment:

“But the cost for that will never be tallied. How many of those Saturday afternoons spent watching football games with friends bear some responsibility for the 100,000 confirmed Covid-related deaths around America since the first snap of a Big Ten game this season? And because we’re still learning about this novel virus, the damage it wreaked on hundreds of players may not become evident for years. The lasting effects of the 2020 college season are unknowable — and for some percentage of Americans, they are beside the point. Eventually, even the most circumspect of fans will return to congregate in bars and living rooms. And the next time a quarterback in Ohio Stadium takes a snap and rolls out while looking toward the end zone, the voices of a hundred thousand spectators will shout as one.”

More thoughts

• I’m not going to lie, 2020 was one of the worst years of my life — and that’s saying something because I’ve been through more than the usual 31-year-old. So I’m beyond ready to say goodbye to this year and ring in 2021, even though I know it’s still going to take a while for things to go back to normal (whatever that is). Either way, I wish y’all the best for the new year. Here’s hoping things start getting better soon.
• It’s been nice to see BYU and Utah fans put their rivalry aside to collectively mourn the death of Ty Jordan. Regardless of who he played for, it was a blow to all of us.
• As a Spurs fan and a woman, it was beyond amazing to see Becky Hammon get the opportunity to be the first woman to coach an NBA team. I still remember when Pop brought her onto the staff, and I was so excited to see how her coaching career would develop. I think last night showed the nation that there is space for women in male sports and they should be included.

Other voices

Per Yahoo! Sports, would the Jets pick Zach Wilson as the No. 2 draft pick?
• KSL’s Patrick Kinahan poses the eternal question: Was BYU a great football team?

Normita’s Spanish Lesson of the Week

Próspero
Prosperous, but can also mean happy
¡Próspero Año Nuevo!
Happy New Year!
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