College athletes looking to go pro shouldn’t worry about canceled seasons, professor says

Washington, D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Even though major conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already canceled their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump is urging college football programs to return to the field come fall.

“Get out there and play football,” he said. “These are young, strong people. They won’t have a big problem with the China virus.”

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, said while the cancellations are a major blow for fans and schools, she doesn’t think players bound for the NFL will need to worry.

“Ultimately it’s a moral decision and what is best for the health of those involved,” she said. “Those players have already most likely been identified.”

There still is a chance for fans to enjoy college football this fall, with other major conferences like the ACC, SEC and Big 12 scheduled to play on.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said he’s worried that play this fall will become another example of conferences exploiting student-athletes.

“I really hope that they don’t regret it,” Blumenthal said. “Some of them now fear for their lives in the midst of a pandemic with their teams, their conference, deciding to play when they may have conditions that make them vulnerable and they are ostracized or penalized for standing up for their own health.”

Blumenthal said the “College Athletes Bill of Rights” he introduced would address those health concerns while also guaranteeing fair compensation and improving educational opportunities for all college athletes.

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