Central to Mike Gundy’s stance is the important role football plays in the economy — especially in the state of Oklahoma — and the need to have games again. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Gundy spoke with the media on a conference call Tuesday and laid out an optimistic timeline for his college football program resuming. He also angered many in the process with some of his comments.

Gundy said that with more testing and clearance from health experts, he is hoping that around May 1st, athletic department employees/college football staff members would be able to begin working again. He is also hoping that the players would be able to return at some point thereafter.

Central to Gundy’s stance is the important role football plays in the economy — especially in the state of Oklahoma — and the need to have games again.

Many were angered by more of his comments, feeling like the Oklahoma State Cowboys coach is risking the health of his players because the state needs it for the economy.

At some point we (and every other country in the world) will have to begin opening up the economy and let people get back to work, otherwise the consequences of the economic shutdown will be devastating. That process has to be done in a methodical, calculated way. How sports reports to that picture remains to be seen, but the ability to test is central to that discussion.

The problem is that there is an implicit economic trade-off to the potential risk of working during a pandemic; workers are expected to be compensated. That is why professional sports leagues have discussions with their labor forces to allow the players to decide under what conditions they are willing to work.

And while there are many unpaid benefits to being a college football player (full scholarship at an expensive school, athletic clothing, room, board, food, training facilities, stipends), these players are students, not labor, and student-athletes should be returning to campus for athletics only once it’s determined by health experts as safe to do so.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


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MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Can you name the NCAA Division 1 FBS coaches who have been at their schools since 2011?
SCORE:
0/15
TIME:
5:00
1999 / Iowa
Kirk Ferentz
2000 / TCU
Gary Patterson
2005 / Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy
2005 / Ohio
Frank Solich
2005 / Utah
Kyle Whittingham
2006 / Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald
2006 / Middle Tennessee
Rick Stockstill
2007 / Navy
Ken Niumatalolo
2007 / Air Force
Troy Calhoun
2007 / Alabama
Nick Saban
2008 / Clemson
Dabo Swinney
2008 / Duke
David Cutcliffe
2010 / Marshall
Doc Holliday
2010 / Notre Dame
Brian Kelly
2011 / Stanford
David Shaw

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