UNC football coach Mack Brown wants to play but sees hurdles

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Tuesday that the ACC wants to play this season, but he added that he did not think it was feasible to play if several other Power 5 leagues decided to suspend sports for the fall.

As conversations in the Pac-12 and Big Ten focus on whether it is safe to play in the fall, the ACC has made no changes to its current plans. Asked whether the ACC would play if the Big Ten and Pac-12 go ahead and postpone the season, Brown said on a Zoom call with reporters, "If some of the others don't play, I don't know what that does for us.

"I don't see leagues playing by themselves. If you see three or four saying, 'We don't think it's healthy,' then why would we do it?"

Brown also added that he thinks it is important for presidents, chancellors and administrators across the country to weigh all options -- including delaying the start of the season even further to be able to gather as much information as possible to make a decision.

"One thing the players have probably done is by saying 'we want to play,' then what people might do is slow down because we're learning more about the virus every day, and let's wait and look at every possible option since they want to play," Brown said. "I think that's what everybody is looking at right now; let's take a deep breath, let's make sure they're safe and then let's look at options. Is it safe to start when we want to? Do we move it back a little bit, or do we move to spring? We're so splintered; it seems to me we'd all be better if we were on the same page, but hopefully we're getting there."

Brown also noted that North Carolina has not had even one positive test in the past month.

"It feels like football -- if you do what you're supposed to do -- is not going to be a problem," he said. "It's outside. We have created a bubble since early, and the guys are understanding if you wear a mask, if you social distance, if you wash your hands, the risk is low, and they're doing a great job of that.

"I've also told the players if we found out or heard you were someplace you shouldn't be, we have to quarantine you or ask you to leave the team because you can't be around us if you're not going to be disciplined enough to understand this is about your academics and football for the next three months, and that's it. Social life is not part of who any of us are right now."

Brown reiterated that the Tar Heels would play only if the medical experts said it was safe to do so. As far as health and safety questions related to possible long-term effects on the heart, which has come up in discussions across leagues, Brown said players with positive coronavirus tests must go through a complete EKG and heart checkup after their quarantine is up before they are cleared to practice.

"They're putting them through an intense and thorough examination before we let them return to the field," Brown said. "I feel very comfortable our medical people are doing everything right. I feel very, very good that every one of them has been checked out."