When it’s all said and done, year 2020 will go down as a lot of things.
Boring, most certainly, will not be one them.
Who, after all, would have predicted that Eric Musselman would usher in Halloween early with a PSA that is among the most visually horrifying in college sports history?
Just take these in:
We want to play basketball this season.— Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball ? (@RazorbackMBB) July 17, 2020
We want you to be able to cheer us on this season.
Wearing a mask is an easy way to help make that a reality. pic.twitter.com/rbAGaVX0Ww
In Georgia, there’s an equally scary/zany mask-related event going down.
The state’s governor, Brian Kemp, has vehemently denied that Georgia needs a mask mandate — despite the fact there’s a surge of cases in the Peach State and other Southern governors (including Asa Hutchinson) have issued statewide mask mandates of their own.
On top that, college football teams around the South are starting to shut ‘er up for the fall. On Friday, in fact, a report broke that the SWAC — which includes UAPB — would cancel its football season soon. The SWAC called the report premature.
Still, there’s no doubt that there’s a trend towards far more aggressive social distancing.
Kemp thinks it’s good to wear masks, he just doesn’t want to mandate wearing them. He’s so convinced of the wrongness of such a law that he’s gone so far as to sue Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over her decision to issue a mask mandate for the city of Atlanta.
“The lawsuit also comes just one day after Kemp suspended all local government mask mandates despite the rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations” in Georgia,” CNN reports. Under the executive order the Republican governor extended the state’s public emergency and said face coverings are “strongly encouraged,” but not required.
So why should Arkansas care about Georgia?
They already gave us Frank Broyles and Sam Pittman (back), right?
Well, there’s a simple reason, actually: Kemp could cost Hog fans their football season. The could us the entire SEC season, for that matter. If cases keep surging in bigger Southern states like Georgia, then come August the SEC commissioner Greg Sankey will likely make the call to cancel the entire season. Even, sadly, if cases start declining in smaller states like Arkansas or (outside of the SEC) Virginia, which has legalized different forms of sports betting as well as diverse options one would happily want to check and not like to miss out on this betting possibility. Fans in this part of the South are already excited about this great opportunity and are waiting on word as to whether the ACC will cancel all of its teams’ non-conference football games.
This is the point that Wally Hall made in a recent Tweet:
Georgia ranks No. 16 in coronaviruses and the Governor doesn’t want it to be mandatory to wear masks and is going to sue the Atlanta mayor. The Georgia governor may be the reason there is no SEC football this season. The virus and masks are not political, this is about survival.— Wally Hall (@WallyLikeItIs) July 17, 2020
Hall isn’t the only Arkansas sports figure to make the point that wearing masks to combat a public health crisis isn’t political. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Today, Hunter Yurachek made an important announcement regarding the COVID-19 crisis:
“The announcement today by the Southeastern Conference that scholarships will be honored for student-athletes, regardless of whether they compete in the fall semester, aligns with the University of Arkansas’ commitment to the 465+ student-athletes within our program.“
“In these extraordinary times, we remain focused on our mission of developing champions and Razorbacks for life. I anticipate that a majority of our student-athletes will choose to compete this year, if given the opportunity to do so. However, it is important for our student-athletes to know if they choose not to participate due to personal concerns related to the pandemic, they will continue to be supported.”
If Brian Kemp and Georgia can get their act together, hopefully SEC football players will actually have the option to sit out. Otherwise, the decision will be made for them.
Every last one of them will stay sidelined.