Americans divided on the return of college football

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – As the UMass Amherst Minutemen look to begin their football season next month, a new poll suggests Americans are divided over whether college football should be returning.

“It’s just a matter of safety and if it gets unsafe then I think the school will make the right call and cancel it,” said a UMass student.

According to a new NBC poll, 49 percent of adults said college football players should be allowed to play this fall, compared to 48 percent who said they should not.

UMass Amherst announced Monday they will have a football season starting sometime in mid-October, reversing their decision back in August to postpone the 2020 season.

“Incredibly excited, incredibly excited for the players. It was a great deal to tell those guys that we will have a chance to compete,” said Walt Bell, Head Football Coach of UMass Amherst.

McGuirk Alumni Stadium will not have any fans for the UMass home games and 70 percent of adults say they would not attend a game this fall if given the opportunity. This comes as the National Football League enters its third week and the Big Ten plans to return to play in October.

UMass Amherst Athletic Director Ryan Bamford says they’re ready to get back on the field.

“We have a number of schools interested in playing us and now it comes down to working through some of the details and sites. Game dates are vitally important and we need to make sure that Walton is Minuteman and the program have the opportunity to be successful. And that doesn’t just mean from a football perspective but from a health perspective and testing perspective.”

Ryan Bamford, Athletic Director, UMass Amherst

The minutemen’s game schedule will be announced once the dates are confirmed with the opponents.

The athletics department said deciding to play really came down to testing. Nearly 2,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered to the team since June. Only two have come back positive.

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