College football players and other fall student-athletes are faced with a tough decision this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, those student-athletes are forced to evaluate the risks of playing their sport this season, and making a decision on whether or not they feel safe enough to move forward or sit out.

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck has repeatedly given his team the same message. That is, regardless of what his players decide to do this year, he’s going to support them.

“We talk about, everybody’s got to evaluate the risk at hand,” Fleck said during a Friday Zoom video conference. “There’s risk involved. There’s risks walking outside. There’s risks going to dinner. There’s risks involved as it is, with injuries, but there’s a little bit more risk now. It’s not for me to judge whether you should play or not.

“We’re going to support you no matter what decision you make. And I might’ve said that 1,000 times. And it’s real and it’s true. If a player decides not to play, he’s going to have support from me. If a player decides he’s going to play, he’s going to have support from me.”

So far, Minnesota has seen just one player opt out of the 2020 season, star wide receiver Rashod Bateman. The junior receiver decided to pursue a career in the NFL, passing on the option to play this season, due to all the uncertainty.

Fleck said his goal is to make players feel as safe as possible, should they decide they want to play this season. At this time, the Minnesota head coach says there are no positive COVID-19 cases among his student-athletes.

Minnesota is set to open the season on Sept. 5 against Michigan State.