During the ACC Football Kickoff on Thursday, Dave Doeren told Adam Gold that around 80 percent of NC State’s football team is vaccinated. Doeren added that more guys were in the process of getting the vaccination as he was leaving for media days.
Vaccination rates have been a big topic of discussion across college football over the last 10 days, with league commissioners consistently urging players to get their shots if they haven’t already done so.
From a football perspective, there’s a lot of incentive to get vaccinated. In the SEC, for instance, teams that are at least 85% vaccinated aren’t subject to regular tests and don’t have to wear masks inside their facilities. Other leagues likely will follow that lead, and like the SEC, they probably won’t be making any room for make-up games this season.
Coaches are explaining the stakes—a potential forfeit loss, which could ruin any number of team aspirations—and that does at least seem to be getting through. (With an assist from NC State baseball, of course!)
“I don’t want to bring up another school, but we all saw what happened with NC State (baseball).”— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) July 22, 2021
Says imagine that scenario in the college football playoff.
“You have a competitive decision to make because you’re going to be part of a team. How does the personal choice and decision you make affect the team? There’s been a couple examples in baseball that has had a huge effect and impact on teams. There was North Carolina State in the College World Series. They maybe had an opportunity to win the national championship, and because of their circumstance with COVID, the whole issue created a circumstance where they couldn’t continue to play.”
(I hate it when things create a circumstance!)
I’ve noticed several coaches and players talking this week about vaccination rates being a competitive advantage, and Michael Irvin probably can accept some of the credit for that. This framing seems to be making a difference in general, and it ain’t wrong, either. The higher your team’s vaccination rate, the less left up in the air this fall.
I would have liked to see NC State leading by example after the baseball debacle, which is and likely will remain the most high-profile example in college sports of what this virus can cost a team. If anybody should be showing a sense of urgency here, it’s NC State, which was in a unique position to make an impactful statement because of what happened to the baseball team.
“What happened in Omaha sucked big time and we learned from it, and 100 percent of our football program is vaccinated, and we implore everyone: please, please do not repeat our prior mistake.”
Something like that would have been the ideal public foot to put forward today, but regardless, it’s a relief to hear that State is around 80% and climbing. Because I absolutely do not have any more room for COVID-related sports pain. NC State can self-inflict enough pain on the field as it is.