“Student athletes have worked too hard to interrupt their season,” the president tweeted on Monday, adding the hashtag #WeWantToPlay.
Trump’s calls for college football to resume come amid a major drive from his administration to get academic institutions – both in elementary school and higher education – to reopen in the fall. They also include reports that two of the “Power Five” conferences – Big Ten and Pac-12 – are expected to suspend their 2020 football season games, according to reports from several sports news outlets.
Leaders from college sports’ Power Five conferences discussed the football season and other fall sports over the weekend. Even though the school year is approaching, no decision has yet been made. Discussions are expected to continue in the coming days.
In his tweets, Trump shared a message from Clemson University football quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a star athlete among a group of college football players who put pressure on games this fall.
In his statement, Lawrence called for the conferences to allow student athletes to play football this season, establish universal health and safety protocols and allow players to opt out of the season, among other measures.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed Monday afternoon that Trump would like to see college football “safely resume.”
“Many of these college athletes work their whole lives to get four years; sometimes they are red-cut an extra year if they are lucky. They work their whole lives for this moment, and he would like to see them have a chance to live out. their dreams, “she added.
In June, at Clemson, Lawrence’s school, 28 student athletes and staff, including 23 football players, tested positive for coronavirus. And across the country, there is a growing list of college sports that have tested positive for the virus.
Research shows that 1 in 3 young adults (ages 18 to 25) are at risk for severe Covid-19, where smoking plays a major role in their risk level.
And although health experts have previously emphasized that older adults were most exposed to the coronavirus, the proportion of cases in teenagers and young adults has increased sixfold, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a member of the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Monday afternoon that college football teams face challenges that are different from the challenges of professional leagues.
Unlike the NHL and the NBA, Adalja said, student athletes are usually not isolated from their peers at school and compete in a “bubble” cut off from the outside world.
“The bubble seems to work, but you can’t do it with students, and I think people forget that,” he said. “It is not necessarily that they will be infected in the field, but they will carry what they have contracted in the community in the field.”
Last week, the University of Connecticut suspended its 2020 football season amid growing concerns about Covid-19. Last month, Connecticut officially left the American Athletic Conference and the Huskies were scheduled to compete as an independent 2020 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The National Junior College Athletic Association announced in July that autumn sports with close contact, including football, would move to the spring semester.
CNN’s Kevin Dotson and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect UConn’s relationship with the Football Bowl division.