The words sum up everything we are experiencing, in sports and in society.
The words. “A miserable decision”. That’s what came out of the mouth of the Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, in announcing the cancellation of their Division 1-football season.
No bitter rivalry game, Ohio-vs-Miami of Ohio. No Toledo-vs-Bowling Green in the Glass Bowl. No Western Michigan-Central Michigan grudge match.
The MAC became the first Division 1-league to shut it down, with the hopes they can play a league schedule in the spring.
But the emotional sentiments coming out of the MAC office, probably are echoed in the offices of the Power 5-Conferences that seem paralyzed at making a decision.
Mid Am comments that included:
..There is no vaccine.
..There is no guarantee testing prevents this
..Don’t know the potential of long term damage someone gets sick
..We cannot protect these players
..We cannot afford day to day testing
..We cannot play.
It does not matter where you are, every college conference still thinking about playing, has to think of the downside if they try to do this. Forget the upside, fan support, alumni-booster donations, gate receipts, TV contracts, bowl games, of the playoffs.
Nothing good comes out of this, for the reward today does not equate to the risk for tomorrow.
Each conference has its issues.
The Mountain West Conference is dealing with the horrors of the California outbreak. San Jose and Fresno State have been shutdown for months, unable to even hold conditioning or spring drills, much less open classes. Add to it the sleazy story of the in-house probe beginning at Colorado State where a new head coach is accused of Covid violations, intimidation, and racial confrontations over his style.
The PAC-12 has ‘hot market issues’ impacting USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, and upturn in virus issues with Oregon-Oregon State. That complicated by a player revolt directed at Commissioner Larry Scott over a ‘laissez-faire’ testing policy, limiting teams to 25-tests per week, with teams having 85 players on campus. The big money conference thinking testing 25 players per team per week is enough. That and Scott’s condescending approach to dealing with players threatening to opt out.
The Big 10 should listen to Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, who shut everything down, ‘I am scared.’
You may be a football power in the SEC, or ACC or Big 12, but how do you rationalize your next moves, with the horrible numbers of outbreaks in Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida. No one seems concerned with the concept, let’s play, fill the stands, rah-rah root for the home team, head home, get sick and risk dying, but our team won.
Equally bad is the look we have gotten from the coaches. The un-intelligent comments from Clemson’s Dabo Sweeney about racial issues. The uninformed comments from Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy about health risks. The boorish comments from Jim Harbaugh about the importance of beating Ohio State. All this as ICU units overflow and morgues are packed.
The next 48-hours are crucial.
Reports the Pac 12 and Big 10 may go forward in lock-step jointly, end the charade and cancel the season. At least Big 10-boss Kevin Warren is pushing for that. Who knows what Scott is thinking, considering he might not have a job much longer considering the state of affairs in the Pac 12 during his leadership reign of ‘error-terror’.
Maybe the good old boys will just go play each other, make their money, hope no one dies. Where is the leadership comments from Nick Saban, who always has something to say? What about the always opinionated Brian Kelly at Notre Dame?
The 1-AA season is shutdown, though some smaller conferences are holding out. The playoff season has been cancelled. The Big Sky and some of those other leagues will try to play in the spring.
There will be no Division II nor Division III season. That was a danger issue and a cost issue. A Division III AD-said there was no 50,000 available per school to conduct season long testing . The 513-members of the NJCAA, junior colleges, closed too.
It makes no sense to try and go on, regardless of what the money rich NFL keeps talking about doing.
Shut it down…live to play another day, in April-May.
Shut it down…so there will not be any loss of life.
Shut it down…to prevent the risk you would be creating.
Like the Commissioner of the Mid American Conference said:
“A miserable decision”.
It will be if the major conferences try to carry on.