State CFO Jimmy Patronis trying to help college and high school sports towards fall seasons

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 10:48 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -So many fans across the state of Florida are hoping what's happened with the Big Ten and the Pac-12 won't happen to the ACC and SEC. State Chief Financial Officer and local businessman Jimm Patronis is pledging the help of his office to see that it doesn't.

Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have canceled all fall sports, including football.

That brings to bear many questions, including will the NCAA allow seniors to transfer and play right away at schools within conferences that will play on, if any do? The ACC and SEC, for now seem determined to play on. Both leagues putting out statements Tuesday stating their intentions to move forward with fall sports.

In fact the schools in Florida are getting a push by Governor Ron DeSantis, who is encouraging schools at all levels to play.

The aforementioned Patronis is also on board. He sent out an open letter to the state's college presidents vowing to work to remove liability concerns with a bill in the next legislative session.

"We looked at it through the role of what's going through the students mind, the student athlete." Patronis told me via Skype Monday. "The opportunities that that they are seeing slip away. From them right now. And the concerns that we have got that university presidents have, there is a liability that exists because of COVID-19. That what if circumstance that exists out there has prohibiting these universities presidents and these boards of trustees from moving forward to allow collegiate sports in a safe manner."

Patronis goes on to say he believes not only should they move ahead with fall sports, fans should be able to attend games, given reduced numbers, and other strict safety protocols. And getting rid of liability concerns helps on that front as well.

"I think it's a huge obstacle." Patronis told me. "I think it's a huge financial threat to them. And where they've got the comfort where they can embrace CDC guidelines, department of health guidelines, Best practices right now that we've seen in current sporting events. You know putting masks, safe distancing."

And this legislation would not just apply to college athletics, says the CFO.

“The same thing that we’ve been advocating for would apply to both collegiate and high school sports. The arguments that we are making as the liability concerns that Covid has threatened these different, large scale activities. Not-for profits, hospitals, organizations have reached out to my office pleading we need to have some type of a legislative comfort moving forward that if we’re doing everything by the letter of the guidance of our federal officials, and state officials, we shouldn’t be punished by a quart room setting by somebody who sees Covid as a windfall”

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