Harbaugh Says Michigan Proves Football Can Be Played This Fall: 'We Will Not Cower'

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Jim Harbaugh released a statement Monday advocating for football this fall based on his program's ability to train safely during COVID-19 since returning to campus in June. It was reported Monday morning that the 14 presidents of the Big Ten voted in favor of suspending the 2020 season. 

Harbaugh feels strongly that the season can still be played: 

I would like to address the rumors that are swirling today. I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13. I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts:

  • The Michigan football program has had 11 positive tests out of 893 administered, including three upon initial return to campus.
  • We have had two positive tests out of the last 417 administered.
  • We have had zero positive tests out of the last 353 administered.
  • There have been zero positives tests among the coaches or staff over the entire eight weeks of testing.
  • There has been no contract tracing to our fields, weight room, locker room or facility.
  • We have had zero pauses in our training.
  • We have complied with all CDC guidelines and self‐implemented stricter standards for contacting tracing in quarantining to prevent spread.
  • We have followed all health and safety guidelines and welcome and encourage any health department, University administrators or other sports programs to visit and see how we practice and execute these protocols.
  • As Darryl Conway our Chief Medical Officer and a member of the Big Ten’s Medical Advisory Group has stated, “I wish that others could see this model.”

This isn’t easy. This is hard.

It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results. We respect the challenge that the virus has presented however we will not cower from it.

We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play. If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.

I am forever proud of our players, parents, coaches and staff for being leaders and role models in our sport, at our institution and in society. We will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, teach, train, and coach those young men and their families that have put their trust in us, while advocating for a football season in the fall.

In quoting President Theodore Roosevelt, we do this “so that our place will not be among the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

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