Turns out there is a football team out there that’s been kept in a bubble. You’ll never guess which one.
Central Arkansas exited its comeback 24-17 victory against Austin Peay in the first college football game of the season unscathed. The team had zero positive tests for COVID-19 in its first round of tests after the game and has maintained that baseline heading into a final round of testing — a rapid antigen test — on the eve of a showdown against UAB on Thursday.
How did they do it? They created their own off-campus bubble as a traveling road show — and they did it with the help of their second opponent on the schedule.
UCA bussed from Montgomery to Birmingham late Saturday night after its victory at the FCS Kickoff inside the Cramton Bowl. Since then, life has been rather uneventful, which is exactly what coaches and administrators desired heading into second week of the season.
Well, it’s as normal as life can be in a pandemic. They’re just a group of college kids traveling across the South, away from their families, friends, homes and campus, with nothing but nasal swabs, hand sanitizer, laptops, playbooks and virtual classes.
They’ve done this after the school, faced with the Southland Conference’s decision to move its season to the spring and Missouri’s cancellation, chose to restock its fall schedule for… well, money. (“The Bears’ athletics department is set to earn $450,000 in guaranteed money in non-conference games compared to the $425,000 it would have collected from Mizzou.”)
I don’t defend the trade off, but at least they’re making an effort to preserve the kids’ safety. Hope that part continues to work.