Lou Holtz makes Normandy reference to decry idea of no college football

Former NCAA football coach Lou Holtz took major issue with the idea of no college football in the fall as a result of coronavirus concerns, arguing "there's just no way in this world you can do anything without a risk."

On Thursday the Big Ten moved to a conference-only model for fall sports, which came on the heels of the Ivy League canceling fall sports. The July college sports developments have prompted questions of whether a 2020 college football season will take place.

In a Thursday night appearance on Fox News' "Ingraham Angle," the Hall of Famer Holtz used a World War II reference to support his point that playing college football in the fall is necessary. 

"People stormed Normandy," Holtz said to host Laura Ingraham. "They knew there was going to be casualties, they knew there was gonna be risk. … It's our way of living, look at it from both points of view. The risk is always there. But you cannot just look at it from one side.

President Donald Trump greets former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. (Photo: Michael Conroy, AP)

"You have to look at things from both points of view. You have to look at it from a player's point of view. You have to look at it from a coach's point of view. The way it is right now, they just don't want to have sports."

The Normandy landings in 1944, considered by historians to be the largest seaborne invasion in history, were the landing operations and associated airborne operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II.

The 83-year-old Holtz also felt the Big Ten's move to cancel non-conference games was problematic. He pointed out that his son, Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz, is at a school that will suffer without playing major power schools. 

"If you eliminate all non-conference games, first of all you have some teams in the Big Ten schedule four patsies (weaker opponents), win two conference games and you can go to a bowl. That isn't gonna happen," Holtz explained. "But let me tell you the devastating effect is the non-power conference schools. … Louisiana Tech, they used to play Baylor, Vanderbilt, those aren't going to happen. Those were very, very important."

Holtz, who is a Republican, once said in 2017 that the "country can't survive" without President Donald Trump. He argued Thursday taking football away from NCAA athletes wasn't fair, despite the health concerns. 

"I want to tell you, I can't begin to tell you the lessons you learn in football," he said. "It's a microcosm of life. You learn about sacrifice, you learn about teamwork, getting along with other people, learn skills to make commitment to other people for the overall team. Young people want to be part of something and you're taking that away from them." 

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