Joe Montana, who led Notre Dame to a national championship in 1977, said if the coronavirus pandemic was affecting college football during his playing days, he would have opted out of the season.
The Big Ten, Pac-12, Big East, Mountain West and Mid-American Conferences have postponed their college football seasons. Montana said Wednesday he wouldn’t have played either if he had the option.
“For me, I think I would’ve gone after the safety of my health first, in the end,” he told USA Today. “Because we’re not talking about the flu or a cold. This thing is killing people everywhere, and not by one or two here and there. We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds a day, thousands.”
Montana said he would want the decision of whether to play or not taken out of his hands and made by school administrators. He said he hoped “somebody makes the right decision for them” because he knows he would want to play.
Montana used baseball as an example of the dangers the virus can pose.
“All I can tell you is look at baseball and baseball isn’t even a contact sport and look at the troubles they’ve had right away in trying to control it,” he told USA Today. “How many players are on a baseball team? Twenty-something? In college, it’s at least double that, if not more, and double that in the NFL. In college, you’re talking 70, 80. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you keep them all safe, because as soon as practice is over, they go their own way.”
As for Notre Dame, should their season still go on, they are looking at an ACC slate of games this season and are eligible to win the conference championship for the first time in its football history.