COLUMBIA, Mo. — If Missouri fans want to enjoy the 2020 football season, they better stay home now.
That’s part of the message new Tigers coach Eliah Drinkwitz delivered Monday in a public service announcement in response to the coronavirus. Drinkwitz became the latest college football coach to use his reach on Twitter and Instagram to urge the public to take measures to reduce the virus’ spread.
In a video taken in front of his home fireplace, Drinkwitz passed along his condolences to the family of former Mizzou coach Woody Widenhofer, who died on Sunday, then focused on the coronavirus.
Drinkwitz referenced family members on the “front lines” of the global pandemic. His brother, Jeremy, is the president of Mercy Hospital Joplin.
“Our leaders have asked us to practice, one, safe social distancing and, two, to stay at home whenever possible,” Drinkwitz said. “See, this is personal for me because I’ve got a lot of family members, brothers and sisters who are on the front lines of this health care battle. I know you do, too. We need to help them by reducing the transmission of this virus. The best way for us to do that is to stay home when possible. If we can do that then I really believe our life will get back to normal sooner rather than later.
“Adversity always presents us a great opportunity. That opportunity for us right now is to sacrifice what we want now for what we want most. What I want most is for my family to be healthy and for us to be able to paly football in the fall. We can do all of those things if we practice what our leaders have asked us to do, which, again, is to practice safe social distancing and stay at home when possible.
“If we can do all those things, then this fall at Faurot Field I’ll be hearing you finish the chant, M-I-Z.”
From USC’s Clay Helton to LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Ohio State’s Ryan Day to Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, college coaches are going online to urge their followers to follow social guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading further.
Spring football scrimmages have been canceled around the country, but Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey is staying positive that there will be a college football season this fall. With the International Olympic Committee likely to postpone this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, concerns could linger beyond the spring about football's return.
"Obviously, I think about everything going forward because we’re being guided by public health information in decision making," Sankey said last week, "but my hope is we can return to our normal organized activities, our normal experiences and be part of that celebration around soccer or volleyball, cross country, football in the fall. But, we’ll have to see."
"I’m a half-full perspective person, so I have optimism," he added. "We have taken measures, as have our colleague conferences. At this time, I think that if I read those health leaders, we’re going to have a period of time to see what happens with the growth of these cases, and we’ll make decisions down the road."
Dave Matter brings you the latest updates from the Mizzou sports scene.