ARLINGTON, Texas — Coaches, athletes and media members, mostly maskless, gathered in AT&T Stadium for Big 12 football media days Wednesday after the 2020 version of the event was canceled due to COVID-19. Still, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the virus remains an obstacle going forward.
“You have to look at this and say ‘We wish we were done with it,’ but we’re probably not quite done with it,” he said.
Bowlsby also endorsed the COVID-19 vaccine and mentioned North Carolina State’s outbreak at the College World Series as a reason for athletes to get it.
He said anyone who does not get the vaccine is taking an “unnecessary and unwarranted risk.”
“We are certainly encouraging student-athletes to get vaccinated,” he said. “Frankly anyone not getting vaccinated is taking unnecessary and unwarranted risks and that’s not just student-athletes, that’s anyone in our society.”
While Bowlsby encouraged the vaccine, he said the conference did not have the authority to mandate it. He said the vaccine was important in minimizing the impact that the Delta variant of the virus would have on the conference’s activities.
Universities are still recovering financially from the impact of the virus as well. Bowlsby said some schools may not fully recover until the 2023 fiscal year.
“The longer-term hangover is likely to be on campus where lots of ticket sales were lost,” he said. “That impact is real and I think that it will be into fiscal year 23 that some institutions fully recover. Others will be able to do it more quickly through use of reserves, or borrowing, or other things.”
Stay tuned to EverythingLubbock.com and KAMC for more from Big 12 media days.