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Will we have college football in 2020? An SA doctor and lawyer weigh in

“I think college football should wait until we have a vaccine."

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio medical and legal experts are weighing in on the future of college football following multiple conferences canceling their fall seasons because of coronavirus concerns.

“I think most Texans have been waiting to get to see some good football action,” said lawyer Joseph Hoelscher.

“I’m an Aggie. It’s a disappointment if they’re not going to play this year,” added Dr. Fred Campbell of UT Health San Antonio.

The PAC-12 and Big Ten are among the powerhouse conferences that have canceled fall football amid the pandemic.

Hoelscher says liability surrounding safety remains a big concern.

“The issue when we’re looking at potential liability is the idea of negligence," he said. "That is, are the different conferences, the different schools, abiding by a standard of care that is reasonable for the people who might be affected?” 

He noted the conferences which have postponed or canceled fall football seasons are setting the precedent for organizations that have yet to make a decision. He believes other conferences will be pressured to do the same. 

But he did lay out a potential alternative.

“To avoid liability, they would have to find some exception that makes them different, and unless there’s just no COVID where they’re at, it’s hard to find an exception that would help them out,” Hoelscher said.

Campbell noted there’s no realistic game plan for college football players to avoid possible risk of virus transmission due to the close proximity of players on the field, especially when tackling.

“I think college football should wait until we have a vaccine,” Campbell said.

As for other sports, Campbell said there’s less of a risk for spreading the coronavirus. He said it’s worth sacrificing the 2020 season to reduce the chances of further spread and to save lives. 

“We usually call them the minor sports, like golf, swimming, and track and field. Baseball, even basketball are much less likely to (result in) transmission,” Campbell said.

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