In the most precarious season of college football history, in which games have been canceled and spectators have been outright banned at some programs, it’s hard to think of a sight worse, as far as the COVID-19 pandemic goes, than what followed Notre Dame’s upset win over No. 1 Clemson.
As soon as Clemson’s last attempt to score in double overtime fell short, Notre Dame fans rushed the field as if their team wasn’t playing in a pandemic that reached a new peak this week in the United States.
This is the postgame sight that greeted college football fans as well as a nation waiting for a delayed post-election “Saturday Night Live”:
Social distancing, that is not.
Obviously, Notre Dame fans had reason to be excited. Their team just beat the top team in the country (which was admittedly missing its Heisman-caliber quarterback) and secured a path to College Football Playoff contention. Fans wait years for these kind of nights.
However, the coronavirus doesn’t care that they had reason to be excited. It remains dangerous, a virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and continues to spread at record rates. Per Notre Dame’s own numbers, there were 17 coronavirus cases reported on campus Friday with a daily average of 27.3 over the last seven days. Like so many other college campuses, COVID-19 has a presence at Notre Dame and beating Clemson doesn’t change that.
Hopefully, Saturday’s game won’t be seen as a super-spreader event, but the field-stormers at Notre Dame — as well as the school administrators that allowed them into the stadium with no evident plan to stop them from crowding — certainly seem to have done the best they can to create one.