AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said during an interview with Memphis’ 92.9 FM ESPN Radio station Monday that the conference’s medical advisors “don’t feel that anything has changed in recent days to prompt a decision like this that comes kind of suddenly” when numbers in counties of The American schools are showing significant percentage decline in COVID-19 cases.
“We think that student athletes could well be and likely will be worse off if they don’t play, for all sorts of reasons we can discuss,” Aresco said in the interview. “They’ve been practicing in one form or another for a couple of months. Here, we have a good outcome right now. I don’t know what it will be like when students come back to campus, but that begs the question if suddenly things go the wrong way, they would have gone the wrong way if these student athletes weren’t playing sports. They might be outside not getting tested, not knowing they have the disease and the outcomes could be a lot worse.”
Asked specifically about those comments, Fickell said he agrees the players are safer in the football environment at UC than away from it.
“I truly believe there’s no better place they’re going to be taken care of, and I mean that not to say they are free from getting the virus, that’s not the case I think no matter what it is we do,” Fickell said. “We are not free from getting the virus unless we quarantine or lock ourselves in our own place. But there’s going to be no better place, where you’re going to be around people that are going to be tested, you’re going to be around people that are trying to do everything that they’re supposed to do, making some sacrificing, making good decisions, and then if you should get it, you’re not going to be care for and treated better.”
Talk of potentially moving the season to the spring seems like a far-fetched idea to Fickell. He doesn’t see how that would work, especially with plans to then pick up the 2021 season in the fall.
“I just think it’s a really difficult situation,” Fickell said. “A lot of our guys have some goals and aspirations to play at the next level and to go spring and try to go fall all over again, no. Personally, if it doesn’t happen (in the fall), it doesn’t get done then, you know, I think it becomes a wash.”