Only the best of intentions

Hope and optimism is the plan ($$).

But then you see a comment like this one Thursday from Missouri AD Jim Sterk on the Paul Finebaum Show: “We’ve had advice that the best way to handle this is to do all those preventative measures” like masks, sterilization and temperature screening. “If there are symptoms, then you test. At this point in time, we’re not going to be testing everyone as they come in.” Sure enough, the SEC’s recommended protocols released on Friday specify testing only for “symptomatic team members.”

Testing ain’t cheap, peeps.

But of course, someone’s got to pay for all those tests, which might simply not be possible. Sterk cited a figure of $65 per test. Multiply that by 150, even twice a week, and that’s about $500,000 between now and the end of the season. And that’s just football. Testing every athlete on every school’s sports teams could cost millions of dollars. Georgia and Florida (which said Friday that every athlete will be tested upon returning) can probably afford that. Georgia State and Louisiana-Lafayette cannot.

Apparently, neither can at least one SEC program… that Georgia plays this season.

Mandel concludes by saying, “They say they’re ready. Cross your fingers and hope they’re right. A whole lot of people have a whole lot riding on them pulling this off.” 

We’re supposed to hope that the organization that has never been able to get its collective act together regarding player concussions is ready to pull that off?  That an organization that once said this

The protection of college athletes isn’t the NCAA’s legal responsibility, the organization maintained in a court filing last week obtained by The Washington Times.

“The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes,” the document said, “but admits that it was ‘founded to protect young people from the dangerous and exploitative athletic practices of the time.’”

… is all in now protecting college athletes from the coronavirus?

Yeah, right.

Huma offered the hypothetical of a quarterback at a big-time program waking up on game day with a cough and fever, two symptoms of COVID-19.

“We already know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve seen players suffer concussions on national TV and being kept in the game while staggering around. There’s no accountability. It is unreasonable to think coaches and athletic programs will do right by players.”

The NCAA’s toothless efforts to improve player safety haven’t worked. It adopted “recommendations and best practices” for an independent model of medical care in 2017. The goal was for physicians and athletic training staff to provide care for athletes “free of pressure or influence from nonmedical factors.”

As usual, those guidelines for athlete welfare came with no NCAA oversight or penalties for failure to comply. The results were predictable for anyone familiar with how college sports works.

Only 53% of respondents to a National Athletic Trainers’ Association survey last year said their programs complied with the independent medical care model. About 19% of respondents said a coach allowed an athlete to participate after the athlete had been declared medically ineligible.

Those of you who are so cocksure that the players have nothing to worry about don’t really know any more absolutely than the rest of us.  What we do know with a fair amount of certainty is that there are schools feeling enormous financial pressure to play college football.  It may be optimistic to expect them to operate against their financial interests.  It may be hopeful to think they and the NCAA have changed their approach.

But it’s not a plan.

37 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

37 responses to “Only the best of intentions

  1. sniffer

    Senator, if you think so little of the people that run college athletics and call into question their motives, why do you continue to support their product?

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  2. Napoleon BonerFart

    The accountability of Covid practices is that the danger isn’t really to players. It’s to coaches. If a player gets infected, the most likely result will be no symptoms, or minor symptoms. It’s the elderly and otherwise compromised people around that should worry.

    If Nick Saban accepts the risk, well he’s being well paid to do so.

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    • So we don’t need to worry about the players accepting the risk, then?

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      • Biggen

        I worry about their risk of catching Corona about much as I worry about their risk getting into a car accident, or coming down with the flu, or getting run over when they cross a street.

        All three of those things are more likely to happen catching Covid 19 and dying from it by the way.

        We all are going to come into contact with the Chinese virus at some point. Accept it and move on already.

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        • Derek

          Its good thar none of these players have children, nieces and nephews, parents or grandparents.

          And if they do? Fuck ‘em!

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        • Bulldawg Bill

          Biggen, I think you got it!
          It’s called “Herd Immunity.” Other than the staff and other highly vulnerables, They’ll either be asymptomatic or at worst, mildly symptomatic and the athletes will develop antibodies and carry on.

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        • Debby Balcer

          You do realize black males even young black males have issues with high blood pressure, and their families would have those risks too?

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          • jtp03

            You think any of those guys have the mental or empathetic bandwidth to think about anyone outside of their little soft doughy spheres?

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      • Bulldawg Bill

        Staff, yes. Players, no.

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      • Napoleon BonerFart

        Their risk is smaller than any other demographic. Their risk of death approaches zero. If you still want to clutch your pearls over it, I won’t stop you.

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  3. ATL Dawg

    Great post Senator and great article by Michael Cunningham.

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  4. Right now in the state of Georgia, anyone who wants a Covid test can get one. Free. Can’t athletes get tested like the rest of us can?

    I don’t know if there’s some limit on how many times, in a certain time period, an individual can be tested. But if not, maybe you’d test everyone involved with an athletic team once each month.

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      • From the 11Alive article, click the “48 Georgia testing sites” link.

        The first place that shows up is the site at West Rome Baptist Church in Rome.

        Unless they’ve changed their policies in the past week and a half, you can drive up to that site and get tested. Free. Takes just a few minutes. My wife and I, on two different days, both took the tests, never had to get out of our car. It took us both about a week to get back our negative test results.

        I’d suggest anybody in Georgia who wants a test just drive by the nearest site listed on that 48-sites page and just ask, how can I get tested? That’s what I had in mind, the day I first drove by West Rome Baptist. Thought they’d tell me I had to call my primary care physician, or the Floyd County health dept; but the technicians at the site told me, if I wanted to, I could get tested on the spot, so I did. There was one car ahead of me in line, I filled out a very simple personal info sheet, drove to the other end of the parking lot where the actual nasal swab test was done.

        Has anybody on the GTP site had a different experience, when you tried to get tested?

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        • doiknowu

          I tried to get tested in my county, which does not have one of the state’s testing sites. I was told that I could drive to the nearest center (an hour’s drive) and take my chances. Since I’m asymptomatic I couldn’t get tested at all here because of a shortage of kits.

          Perhaps on paper we can all get tested, but my own experience tells me it’s not cut and dried.

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        • Normaltown Mike

          hey chop, how bad was the test?

          I’ve driven past the testing site on Baxter St numerous times and there is never a line of cars, so I’ve wondered if it’s worth finding out

          my wife visited NYC in Feb and had a bad cold afterwards. Unlikely she got it but curious.

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      • Cojones

        Derek, one of the non-sheeples among us. You have got to quit this scientific proofing of a political virus that has it’s own spokespersons. We just aren’t ready to hear this realistic shit when we have the Plump non-science directions to follow.

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  5. Kirby making $20K daily. Dabo and Nick making $30K daily. the athletic departments can afford to test everyone. They can’t afford not to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ASEF

    Some construction workers at Bryant Denny stadium caught it. Despite precautions.

    I’m less interested in what ADd saying now, which is all hypothetical, than I am the rationalizations once we do see clusters of cases breaking out. The closer those ADs get to game checks, the harder they will be to slow down.

    Maryland ran a player to death. And the coach and AD almost kept their jobs. Remember how that we payed out for awhile? Anonymous boosters blaming the player for being too fat? Media’s fault for “sensationalizing” the story?

    That playbook works really well.

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  7. Hey everyone, come read my blog about football and then let me tell you that football sucks and you are stupid for wanting football this season. Interesting times for sure.

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  8. What if the players want to play? Sometimes I think our dialogue in these parts swings too far in the direction of acting like the players are part of an autocratic system. Should they control their own NIL? Hell yes. Does the power of billions of dollars flooding this market corrupt? Absolutely. But kids fought for scholarships long before that. Most of these kids will ONLY get a college career. Is it lost on anyone that maybe the kids want to play? There’s a balance here somewhere, but the assumption that these “kids” who are old enough to be drafted for war, btw, are wringing their hands over the precise measures being implemented to protect them from COVID-19 as opposed to the risk of not playing at all seems overwrought to me. Free labor? Yes. Compelled labor…uh, no.

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  9. Mike

    Senator,
    What is your opinion on whether or not they should come back in the fall and play?

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