Talk continues to bubble that major football schools may back away from playing football this fall after all (and the minor sports conventionally played then, too.)
The Big Ten seems to be leading the move to postpone football in the face of a still-raging pandemic, with infected players all over the country, including some who’ve learned exposure to the disease brings permanent heart and other ailments, if not death.
Some PAC 12 players are threatening boycott if conditions aren’t met.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 10, 2020
Players organizing scares the bejeepers out of the millionaire athletic directors. Over the long haul, it’s a bigger threat to multi-million-dollar coaching staffs and Xanadu athletic facilities than coronavirus, as Sally Jenkins explained in the Washington Post.
The novel coronavirus crisis is an incredible diagnostic tool. The excesses have never been so sharply delineated: The $50 million stadium upgrades, the indoor waterfalls, the ballooning salaries, the locker rooms designed like first-class luxury airliner cabins now look like protruding, tumorous distortions, worthy of recoil and disgust. Institutions have laid themselves bare, with their desperate insistence on trying to make unpaid kids play football in a viral outbreak simply to meet their overextended bills.
“Schools have spent money recklessly for years,” says attorney Tim Nevius, a former NCAA investigator who is now an advocate for athletes. “Now they’re in a position where if the season doesn’t go forward, they’re on the hook for millions. … There has just been an extraordinary amount of spending on things that have very little resemblance to a university’s mission to educate and develop people.”
You’ll be proud to note that Trump states like Arkansas — and the rest of the SEC — have no misgivings. They wanna play some football! And include Arkansas State University in that number.
See the UA athletic director’s Tweet. And also see the prepared ASU statement purporting to speak for every single ASU player, all apparently sanguine about playing in one of the state’s COVID-19 hotspot counties. (16.8 percent positive test rate; 30 new cases per day for each 100,000 population.) Craighead is even worse than Washington County, UA’s home. Washington is No. 1 in Arkansas in raw numbers (more than 6,000 cases), but currently only running a 13.8 percent positive testing rate and 18.9 new cases daily/per 100,000 population, both still danger levels.)
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) August 10, 2020
— A-State Student Athlete Services (@AStateSAS) August 10, 2020
If all play now will payment be due later? Maybe that Trump miracle is just around the corner, where the coronavirus just disappears.
Speaking of payments: UA has some $200 million in bonds to pay off (counting interest) on that stadium expansion, an obligation that falls to the university if athletic revenues plunge.