Morgantown, West Virginia – Several weeks ago – when the college football season appeared unsafe and unlikely – many college athletes decided to simply opt out of the season.
A lot has changed since then. The football season is rolling right along in most conferences, the Big Ten has decided to return in October, and there has been very few cases on teams or spread of the virus since the return of college football.
Kerry Martin, Jr., the ultra-talented sophomore defensive back from Charleston, West Virginia, was the only player on the Mountaineers to decide to opt out of this season, citing health reasons.
Martin, who has pre-existing health issues, said the following early last month:
“My family and myself have had many conversations about playing this upcoming 2020 season. With that being said, we feel as if it’s best to opt out and sit this season out due to my family and my own personal health issues (sickle cell, asthma). I signed my national letter of intent to this university to become a great football player and leave as a better man as well as having a better understanding about life, and to pursue my professional dream, but not to play during a worldwide pandemic.”
Martin closed by adding, “I will comeback for my sophomore year a much more dynamic player.”
Kerry Martin, Jr. is one of the most talented players on the West Virginia defense. A 3rd team freshman All-American last season, Martin was expected to be a starter in the Mountaineers secondary.
The NCAA (and West Virginia University, in particular) has created an extremely safe atmosphere for its athletes. Although Martin has health concerns, it could be argued that he would be even more safe in within the bubble of safety that the NCAA has constructed. Frequent testing and care by world-class physicians make college athletes among the safest in the country.
Martin has to do what’s best for himself, but athletes want to play and participate, and it’ll be difficult to keep someone who can play off the field. Several players around the country who previously opted out have already decided to return to their teams…could Kerry Martin, Jr. be next?