Rutgers football and Ohio State, despite residing in the same division of the same conference, don’t really have much in common. They’re basically at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to current pecking order and history of program success.
However, they now have a coronavirus outbreak in common. As of today, both teams have seen a COVID-19 outbreak put their program’s preparation for the 2020 season (in the remote chance there actually is one) on pause.
Statement from Rutgers reads:
Since returning to campus on June 15, Rutgers Football has experienced four positive tests for COVID-19. Today, we learned of six additional positive COVID-19 results in our latest weekly testing cycle. As a result, we have paused all in-person team activities, quarantined our entire program and will work diligently with Rutgers medical experts, and state and local officials to determine next steps.
That’s the thing about COVID, it doesn not discriminate based on race, creed, socioeconomic status, prestige or what your record is on the college football gridiron. If you’re a 5-star recruit or a walk-on, it doesn’t matter, the risk is equal. The Big Ten conference has already moved to a conference season only model for 2020, but don’t be surprised if we just ned up with nothing at all.
Just five days ago, we learned that Rutgers football, if it is staged at all, will have a very minute amount of fans. A statement sent out by the RU Athletic Department declared that “venues will operate in accordance with the executive orders issued by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy limiting outdoor gatherings to 500 people or fewer.”
That of course led to a flood of people on social media all making the same joke- “so, business as usual for Rutgers football?” “Isn’t that MORE than what they typically draw for home games?” While some believe those jokes are corny and unoriginal, at the end of the day, you are selling a product to the public, and if you can’t move that inventory, well, you are fair game for criticism and comedy.
That said, COVID is no joke, so please wear a mask around other people, keep your social distance, and stay home if you can.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.Follow paulmbanks