They want to play.
Washtenaw County Michigan, health officials have ordered University of Michigan students to stay in place through November 3rd as the county tries to slow down the spread of COVID-19 on the campus. But there is a condition that is attached. The University of Michigan football team can participate in Big Ten action this weekend as the conference’s season kicks off. The University of Michigan squad will travel to Minneapolis to take on the University of Minnesota. The game is still on despite the fact that the University of Minnesota has a COVID-19 outbreak and that some players cannot play because of the illness. COVID-19 is just another football risk like the now seldom discussed problem of concussions or knee and assorted joint injuries and broken bones. It is just football. There will be one coach missing from the return of Big Ten football. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm will not be on the sidelines because of COVID-19. Florida coach Dan Mullen, who wanted 90,000 people to pack the university’s Gainesville stadium for a game against Louisiana State University on October 17th is also sidelined with COVID-19.
College football is a business, nothing more, nothing less although some people make it out to be a bunch of college kids having a good time playing a game. There are perks that are available to college football programs that are unavailable to the general public during the pandemic. People connected to college programs are regularly tested for COVID-19 and there are rapid tests available. The big-time college football programs provide television programming to cable TV networks and that programming is important to those networks and marketing partners. The marketing partners or advertisers can reach an 18 through 54-year old male demographic to sell products. There may be a health crisis in Ann Arbor, Michigan but the games must go on.