Trump calls for college football season to go forward

President Trump on Monday urged university presidents and athletic directors to go forward with this fall’s college football season despite safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” Trump tweeted, sharing the #WeWantToPlay hashtag used by some prominent college football players.

The president shared a post from Trevor Lawrence, one of the sport’s most prominent players, in which the Clemson University quarterback stated his desire to play and called for the NCAA and individual conferences to establish safety procedures and uniform rules on eligibility.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked about the tweet during a press briefing, said Trump “very much would like to see college football safely resume their sport.”

“They work their whole lives for this moment, and he’d like to see them have a chance to live out their dream,” McEnany said of the players.

Major college conferences appeared on the brink of calling off the fall season as of Monday. The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first Football Bowl Subdivision to announce it was canceling the fall season. The Ivy League had done the same last month.

The Big Ten and Pacific-12 conferences were reportedly close to doing the same, though no official announcement had been made as of Monday afternoon.

Public health experts and some players have expressed concerns about the viability of a season given that college teams are unable to practice, play and live in a bubble setting used by professional leagues such as the NBA and NHL. Roughly 30 college players have already opted not to play this season, and some have reported experiencing severe symptoms and side effects from contracting the virus.

But dozens of players have made clear they are interested in having a season, and conservative lawmakers have joined the push in recent days.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a former president of Midland University, wrote to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten universities Monday urging them not to cancel the season.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

Tags Ben Sasse Big Ten Conference College football college sports Coronavirus Donald Trump NCAA Pac-12 The Ivy League trevor lawrence

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