The state of college football is in complete disarray as the news broke Tuesday that the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences pulled the cord on their 2020 seasons. The decision was made over concerns related to player safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the other three Power Five conferences have yet to make any further changes to the 2020 season.
As a few prominent college football players voiced their opinions via Twitter this past weekend, and more joined in. One Georgia Bulldog made his opinion known as well following the likes of Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Then, he was followed by several of teammates backing his opinion.
“We’ve worked too hard to not be able to take the field this fall,” said redshirt sophomore running back Zamir White, per his personal Twitter account. “I trust the plan that our leadership has to keep us safe on the field and off. Our team is focused and ready to play. #WeWantToPlay”
Senior defensive end Malik Herring then tweeted his stance.
“Came back to play ball! that’s what I want to do! Same for my teammates!” Herring tweeted.
White and Herring were followed by junior offensive lineman Trey Hill, redshirt freshman tight end Ryland Goede, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kearis Jackson, and junior running back James Cook . They all tweeted using the #WeWantToPlay hashtag on social media Tuesday.
Walk-on linebacker Matthew Brown made an appearance on CNN to discuss the ongoing situation and to echo the sentiment of his teammates wanting to play.
On Sunday, senior linebacker Monty Rice took to Twitter to call out those in charge for not constantly adhering to their principles of whether college football can be played or not.
“Let’s play safely!! But those ‘in charge’ quit with the back and forth!!!” Rice tweeted.
This past Friday, the SEC announced the addition of two cross-divisional opponents for every team. The Bulldogs added a home game against Mississippi State and a road contest at Arkansas. The original two cross-division games against Alabama (away) and Auburn (home) remained intact. The Bulldogs also still face off against their six Eastern division opponents as well.
The league also announced on that same day their new COVID-19 protocols and Georgia’s associate athletic director of sports medicine, Ron Courson, held a zoom call with UGA beat writers to discuss the situation.
He seemed optimistic about the 2020 season being played and reported that no Georgia players had planned to opt-out for the fall.
“We can’t do everything but what we can do is keep it as safe as we can within a safe environment,” Courson said. “I believe we have done everything we can do to be safe but you have to continually reassess because things change and you have to be flexible.
“The way I look at it, I have four kids, if I didn’t feel it was safe for them to be out here they wouldn’t be out there now. I do think we can be safe but we have to be very prudent in what we do, we’ve got to be very deliberate in what we do but we also have to be flexible.”
The fear within the Big Ten and Pac-12 was about player safety and there also was thought to be a liability issue. Many coaches came out and spoke to that the players will be safer on their college campuses with a professional medical staff rather than back in their respective hometowns.
Those statements made by coaches recently were related to what something Kirby Smart preached on back in March.
“There’s obviously some apprehension and questions, but they have those same questions whether they are in Huntsville or in Macon or in Columbus,” Smart said. “I know that our facility is one of the safest, and we certainly have the ability to care for that facility better than a lot of places they can go back home.”