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College Football Could Be Returning In The NW, Despite Covid Risk

Dean Hare/WSU Photo Services

This week, the Pacific-12 Conference in college sports may follow other big-name conferences around the country in announcing a shortened fall football season. The conference cancelled its season because of the health risks to the players.

But other conferences around the country have decided the reward is bigger than the risk and have begun modified seasons. Last week, the other conference that had cancelled football for 2020, the Big Ten in the Midwest, reversed itself and announced it will start in late October. That has put enormous pressure on the league that includes Washington State and Washington to do the same. And, apparently, discussions on that have begun.

What does Spokane County Health Officer Bob Lutz what he thinks about this development?

To be clear, Bob Lutz is not a football fan. He doesn’t have that football obsession, what Cheech and Chong would have called a Football Jones.  

He has long counseled caution when it comes to Covid. Wear your masks, keep your distance from others who aren’t in your immediate family. Minimize the risks.

That doesn’t mean, he says, that you can completely eliminate the risks.

“People have to figure out where their priorities lie. Do their priorities lie with getting Covid and the potential ramifications of doing so, or is it more important for them, as you said, get their Football Jones out and go watch a game," he said.

So Lutz isn’t passing judgment on those fans and teams and sporting conferences and leagues that are trying to preserve their seasons and their livelihoods. He says if you go to watch a game with someone, either in your living room or in a stadium, take precautions to protect yourself and them. He says that also applies with a celebration coming up in a few weeks.

“Enjoy Halloween, but enjoy it safely.”

He says that means you may do it a bit differently.

“Trick or treat with your family and you, as someone who’s going to be giving out candy, maybe I am sort of tossing it to you. I’m going to be wearing a face covering, that’s for sure, and maybe parents are not going to feel comfortable with a child coming up to me to hand out candy directly to them. Maybe it’s going to be, here’s the candy, catch," Lutz said.

Catch. That’s what Pac-12 quarterbacks might be telling their receivers on Halloween. It’s one of the days mentioned last week as the potential start of a shortened season.