The case for and against playing fall sports

Tyler Meguire

The Mountain West decided on Aug. 20 that fall sports would be postponed until further notice. This was not shocking news, as many other conferences had already thrown in the towel. With this came outrage but also a sigh of relief since many do not think it is a wise idea for players to be coming into close physical contact with others.

It is a touchy subject, with arguments for both playing and not playing.


The case for playing

Colorado State University is offering face-to-face, hybrid and online classes. CSU will also mandate masks inside the classroom and will follow other sanitation protocols to ensure the safety of the students. No one knows what this entails. Yes, the students are wearing masks, but how will this be enforced when there are hundreds of students filtering in and out of campus buildings every day?

Players and coaches want to play, and fans don’t want another long drought without sports. To say it is unsafe for athletes to play but send 26,400 students to campus and dormitory halls could be considered hypocritical.

When students are going through the Lory Student Center or the Clark Building, there will be contact — not always purposeful contact, but accidental contact can occur. CSU is inviting students to live in the dorms where people share tiny living spaces and bathrooms. 

Fall sports being postponed is not CSU’s fault by any means. It represents all universities in this example. If schools remained closed down and then sports were postponed, that would be one thing because it would look like they are genuinely worried about the safety of students. Unfortunately, it can be assumed that this is not the case.

The case for not playing

Larimer County has had 1,771 COVID-19 cases and 36 deaths as of Sunday, Aug. 23. These numbers were before classes started. When school starts, CSU may become an epicenter for COVID-19.

For example, the University of North CarolinaNotre Dame and Michigan State shut down just days into reopening because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Even if the MW scheduled conference-only games, it might not matter. Before the CSU football team was shut down and investigated for several allegations regarding a COVID-19 cover-up and racism allegations, there were eight positive cases within the organization.

Allowing athletes to compete would only bring more COVID-19 cases to CSU. Fall sports such as football and basketball guarantee physical contact on every play. Physical contact includes many bodily fluids for every player, coach and referee during the whole contest. Athletes yell and spray potential COVID-19 particles in the air.

These student-athletes would then go to classes the next day and expose hundreds of students. Student-athletes could also be exposed to other students and then bring COVID-19 to the team.

Either way, fall sports will not happen this year. It seems almost unreasonable for schools to tell students they cannot participate in sports but tell them to also live with fellow students in dorms and go to in-person classes. If students take the pandemic seriously, it will be easier for sports to come back in the spring. The results of this semester will determine the likeliness of that outcome.  


Tyler Meguire can be reached at or on Twitter @TMeguire.