The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) made the difficult but correct choice this week to continue with the football season.
There are risks to playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing is not possible in a sport that has blocking and tackling as its most basic fundamentals, and teams that practice and travel in close quarters could be breeding grounds for new outbreaks, which they might spread back to their homes.
Yet the costs of not playing are also very real. How dispiriting would it be not to have the leaping of cheerleaders, rhythm of bands and clashing of rival schools on the gridiron during a Mississippi fall? The players, particularly seniors, would miss out on a memorable time in their lives, and the schools’ athletic budgets, of which football is the No. 1 driver, would suffer, not to mention the myriad local businesses that benefit from football.
At this point, shutting down is not the appropriate option in any aspect of society. We did it for a month beginning in mid-March, and it will take a decade or more to fully recover, and that was with huge government subsidies. The answer, as MHSAA decided, is to take precautions — the season is being pushed back two weeks and fan restrictions are likely —