Gov. Gavin Newsome said at his news conference today that, “there is nothing in the state’s guidelines that deprives the Pac-12 of conference games” and termed any reporting as “a misrepresentation of the facts”.
This is true, a Health Department official confirmed the hotline after the news conference.
(I initially reached out to the health department last week.)
Technically, he said, the state allows games to be played at the intercollegiate level: full-squad, full-contact 22-man games.
The problem – and it is a super-colossal problem – is with practice.
As per Section 5 of the guidelines:
“IHEs (Institutes of Higher Education) should establish synergies as a strategy to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. A co-worker may be composed of six to 12 persons, all members of the same team, who work continuously together and participate in activities together. “
You may ask: How can a football team practice without at least 22 players on the field?
Well, I questioned a lot of the officer, who did not want to be quoted, but was ready to explain the state rules.
The answer was:
Teams can get around work for 11-on-11 practices.
They said they could be through the walk, he suggested. They can practice against the wind. They can use virtual reality and deal with dummies. They can use mental exercises.
He said that they are all means by which the team can practice and prepare for the game.
I replied that during a game week during the season, a football team needed 22 players on the field, offense against defense, 11 against 11, with some degree of contact.
The official replied that the teams could prepare by playing five matches against five.
And that contact is allowed, within a certain group of players.
I reiterated my opinion that the rules were not practical for a major college football team – at some point, teams had to field 22 players at once with tackling.
Otherwise, I said, players will not be properly prepared for the games.
The official said that this was nothing short of an ideal but an obstacle that could not be overcome.
He then reiterated that guidelines were laid down to stop Kovid-19, as well as, at the same time, creating a means of allowing practice.
And, of course, games are allowed.
So this is it. That is the explanation.
California teams can do Practice, but they have to do it five-by-five.
Or against the wind.
Or with VR.
Not just 11 on 11.
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