Frank LoMonte Comments on How Colleges Deliberated in Private About Resuming Football During the Pandemic
Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “Football Has Long Been the Third Rail for College Leaders. It’s Even More Perilous Now” published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 9.
The article focuses on how colleges wrestled with the decision to have a football season during the pandemic. They juggled the safety of resuming athletics with trying to create a semblance of normal college residential life. The negotiations were held in private.
According to LoMonte, closed-door discussions about playing football in the pandemic reflect a “much larger cultural problem throughout higher education.” The deliberative process may help the public understand the motives behind the decision, which is an important piece of public accountability.
“If the presidents are talking privately about how they don’t think it’s safe to play football, but they need to reopen the stadiums to appease their legislators or appease their big donors, then we need to know that politics and money overrode public health,” LoMonte said. “When government officials talk about the ability to have candid discussions behind closed doors, what they’re really talking about is a right to lie. They’re saying that they want the ability to share their true motives in private, and then come out publicly and assure people that the decision was made for only the most noble reasons, based on nothing but expert medical advice.”
Posted: March 10, 2021