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Our View: Will students be the ones who put stop to football?
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Our View: Will students be the ones who put stop to football?

From the 2020 in review: Most read local stories from the past year series
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Downtown Auburn

A group of young people wait in line to get into Southeastern Bar in downtown Auburn on Tuesday night. Most patrons in line were not wearing masks.

People of a certain age might recall a common complaint from their elders about the reckless behavior of the young. “Kids today think they’re bulletproof,” said moms and dads around the globe.

The scenes in Alabama’s college towns the past week proves generations of moms and dads right.

In the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 100,000 Alabamians and killed almost 1,900, college students crowded around popular nightspots with few face masks and no apparent regard for social distancing, including here in Auburn.

It’s inevitable, and it defies logic even in a situation where common sense is in short supply.

Colleges such as Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill already have reversed course on the decision to conduct on-campus classes after a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now all instruction will be online.

Meanwhile in Auburn, night after night students stand in line and crowd the inside of popular gathering spots without wearing masks or paying heed to any precautions on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

State mandates order the bars to close at 11 p.m., but that does little when house parties take their place in the later hours of the night.

Tuscaloosa’s student crowds similarly drew the ire of city officials, and Mayor Walt Maddox raised a salient point after University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted a photo of a clutch of students outside a bar on The Strip.

“If you don’t want to protect yourself and you don’t want to protect your family and you don’t want to protect your friends and thousands of jobs, maybe just maybe you would want to protect the football season so we can have it this fall,” Maddox said in an interview.

That may be in jeopardy as well. Several high schools already have canceled their first games in the season after experiencing positive COVID tests.

If the potential loss of college football doesn’t get Alabamians’ attention, we don’t know what will.

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