There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to have an impact on WVU football and colleges across the US. With just about two months until the college football regular season is scheduled to begin, there is plenty of uncertainty around the sport.
College football programs only recently started allowing players to return to campus for voluntary workouts. WVU let players who tested negative for the coronavirus begin training a week ago, on June 15.
Unfortunately, things haven’t gone too well in Morgantown, or at many other colleges around the country.
It was reported that a second WVU Mountaineer tested positive for COVID-19 this weekend. The first was announced last Monday when players returned to university grounds.
Both players started to self-quarantine for two weeks.
In addition to removing these student-athletes from the field, others were identified as having an increased chance of contracting the virus through contact-tracing procedures. These other football players have also gone into quarantine as part of the athletic department’s new health and safety process.
While the positive tests at West Virginia are noteworthy, virus outbreaks have been much worse elsewhere.
Texas, a fellow Big 12 Conference opponent, reported that 15 athletes tested positive. It’s even worse for last season’s runner-up in the National Championship. Clemson features 23 football players who recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
In what should prove to be one of the most difficult years in sports history, this doesn’t appear to be a promising start for college football.
Of course, football fans aren’t the only ones nervous about this season. West Virginia sportsbooks are hopeful one of their top betting markets is available this fall.
Let’s examine how college football betting can exist this year and what teams are doing differently to prepare.
College Football’s Rocky Start
Many believed that college football, along with the NFL, would have an easier time getting their 2020 seasons underway. In theory, both sports would have had an opportunity to see how other leagues worked through COVID-19 issues prior to starting.
There was also a hope that the number of positive cases in the US would have dwindled by now. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.
The NBA and NHL have plans in place for their restarts at the end of July. This will only give college football leagues and programs a few weeks to observe.
And although coronavirus cases went down significantly, many states have reported massive increases since beginning to reopen.
Now, as football players try to start their upcoming season, the reality of how difficult this will be is setting in.
Medical experts and college officials are trying to determine the best route to keep everyone safe, while still getting a season in.
Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of infectious disease and tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, discussed some obstacles college programs will face around testing. She said as much to The Washington Post.
“This is the big problem with college sports. It’s just a lot more feasible for professional sports because they have the resources to implement a lot of these procedures and protocols, which will give the best chance of lowering the risk of outbreaks.”
Officials from each of the Power Five conferences have provided a variety of safety protocols that differ for each school.
Since college football includes so many states, conferences, and programs, it’s possible that there are many different regulations in place for this year.
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Big 12 Conference Safety Protocols
Although college football’s major conferences are working together to find the best health practices, testing policies will be up to the individual schools.
An anonymous athletic administrator told The Washington Post how this could prove to be an issue. He said:
“The big problem here is we can put together the best policy in the world, but if they’re doing something different over in Texas or Florida, can we really travel there and play a game?”
How often schools decide to test and how accurate they are will be vital to playing college football this year.
At Arizona, players are actually taking three different types of COVID-19 tests each week to test their accuracy and efficiency. With costs for each test ranging from $40-$240, weekly testing for an entire football team and staff could become costly.
Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s infectious disease expert, spoke about how the NFL would be able to have their season. He said:
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble, insulated from the community, and they are tested nearly every day, it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”
Since there are so many more college football teams, the college season might be more strenuous than the NFL. These players will be attending class in between practices, too.
It will be very interesting to see how schools go about implementing social distancing rules. It’s also possible that many schools choose not to have any classes on campus at all.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby discussed the return of college football. On the Dennis and Cowlishaw show on ESPN Dallas 103.3, Bowlsby said:
“So, when you ask about my level of confidence, I’m confident in the medical professionals that we’re working with and the consultants and the leadership of the institution, but this is a very virulent virus. We’re going to have to learn to coexist with it.”
WVU Football Betting Odds
Whether there’s a college football season this fall remains a question. During such difficult times in the US, many are hoping schools can determine a way to entertain fans every Saturday.
Even though some of the retail sportsbooks in the Mountain State are still closed, the online sports betting apps available are always open. They include:
While DraftKings doesn’t feature any individual game lines just yet, it does have the following futures bet on WVU for 2020:
Win National Championship
- WVU +15000