Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy is eager to get back to work despite the COVID-19 concerns.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Robert Allen, Gundy expressed how he thinks it’s time to bring athletes back to school, and ultimately get them back on the field.
“The NCAA, the Presidents of the universities, the Power Five conference commissioners, the athletic directors need to be meeting right now and we need to start coming up with answers,” Gundy said in a teleconference, via Sports Illustrated.
“In my opinion, we need to bring our players back. They are 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22-years old and they are healthy and they have the ability to fight this virus off. If that is true, then we sequester them, and continue because we need to run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
Gundy says he’s not unsympathetic to the fact that the outbreak is taking lives, and that he’s lost sleep over its effects. However, he can see football returning to campuses even if colleges don’t resume live classes.
Gundy has a target date of May 1, but the Big 12 conference and others are looking at May 31 for the return of practices and team functions.
“I’ve also heard comments about can you play a football season when you don’t have students on campus going to school? Sure you can,” Gundy said.
“We need the tuition money and the fee money that feeds the economy in Stillwater and Payne County. I’m not saying that (football without a full campus of students and full stadium of fans) is what I want but it is what we are doing. There is a large percentage of classes year round (before the coronavirus) that are on-line and distance learning.
“What I am doing is trying to find answers for the situation we’re in now,” Gundy said. “The question is can you test your players back in? Can you sequester them over here while they are training? Sure, you can. The NCAA has a rule that you can’t have an athletic dorm only … That rule needs to go out the window because we’ve never had a situation like this.”
The NCAA cancelled its winter tournaments and spring sports season on March 12. An extra year of eligibility has been added for spring athletes, but how the NCAA handles the fall is at the mercy of the outbreak.