For anyone who thinks most sports writers are rooting for a cancellation of the 2020 college football season to prolong the coronavirus discussion, please seek professional help.
In short, it’s a misguided, dumb take predicated by an unfortunate few looking to group us all in one huge, bubble.
Unlike more successful bubbles we’ve witnessed, this one is imaginary and toxic.
Covering sports is our livelihood and little compares with the joy of sitting in a press box on a Saturday afternoon as great athletes go after it for three hours.
All things considered, we still want these athletes, coaches and staffers to be safe along with the fans and people like me who cover these events. The public health should always rank well ahead of the desire to make money and be entertained even though the priority list has become skewed by some who made wearing a mask in public a political issue and not the no-brainer it should have been six months ago.
It would be beyond foolish to discount our passion for our jobs. We love what we do and we enjoy bringing you closer to the action, whether it’s through our stories, videos and columns or with our podcasts and appearances on radio and television.
Our lives are much more enriched when there are games and sports angles to cover, but there have been too many examples over the last month of attacking the messenger for delivering the message. We can take the heat, no question, but we’re all about seasons happening because it puts food on the table.
While nothing would make us happier than to have this virus eradicated and have football take place, 2020 hasn’t been agreeable so far.
With that said, it’s still our duty to cover developments as they happen and give perspective through a sports lens.
On the brink: This is why we can’t have nice things.
America dropped the ball in the spring and now the fall appears bleak.
Some of you remember back in high school when your parents said you wouldn’t get certain privileges in the fall if you didn’t hit the books hard in the spring. Well, we frittered away last semester, the summer has been a real wash, and the fall promises to be even worse.
Is the Big Ten in a state of premature panic? Will the PAC-12 follow its Rose Bowl business partner’s lead? Will Nebraska the south-based Power Five conferences (ACC, SEC and Big 12) going to go it alone if the other Power Five conferences cancel?
This is but the latest example of why college football is really lacking in the leadership department. Just like the federal government carelessly allowed its governors to handle the pandemic separately, the 130 or so university presidents are forced to act as individuals rather than one cohesive group with a singular mission.
Let’s be honest. Besides the billions that could be left on the table, It’s mostly an issue of liability and safety and to ask 18-to-22 year-olds to sign a waiver absolving the schools of any responsibility if play was to happen is akin to admitting these young men are employees and methinks the colleges want no part of that noise.
The players and power brokers like Alabama coach Nick Saban are down for some fall ball, but this decision is out of their hands.
We know where All-Americans like quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields stand and the same can be said of our local team.
“As a whole, our teams have handled this very maturely,” Texas coach Tom Herman told me about his team’s unusual spring. “They’re football players and they want to play football.”
2020 college football season to prolong the coronavirus discussion, please seek professional help.
So we wait.
This will be explosive, either way. If the Big Ten and PAC-12 vote to postpone and the other three decide to play, then the then we will have to rename this group the Fractured Five.
No money, no MACtion: “Let’s wait and see what the MAC decides.”
Said no one ever.
The Mid American Conference’s decision to postpone the season wasn’t just about the health of its athletes.
Those filthy greenbacks were the big decider. When the Power Five programs cut down on their non-conference schedules amid coronavirus concerns, several major paydays for MAC schools vanished into thin air.
MACtion was set to reportedly earn $10.5 million in appearance fees against Big Ten opponents alone and that doesn’t count even Kent State’s matchup at SEC power Alabama, a beatdown that would earned the Golden Flashes a cool $1.75 million.
The ESPN television contract without those appearance fees just wasn’t going to be enough for these financially strapped programs to continue so they pulled the plug on 2020 and threw in some goodwill explanations about protecting the athletes for good measure.
Safety is always important but this was a money decision for sure.