“The decision does not have to be made now.”

Look, I get that Nick Saban is in favor of a college football season because he’s Nick Saban with a vested interest in coaching a college football season, but when he’s right, he’s right.  And on this, he’s right.

“We also test anybody that has symptoms and have an open testing site where they can go and get tested as many times as they want or anytime they feel like they need to,” Saban said. “But our guys aren’t going to catch [the virus] on the football field. They’re going to catch it on campus. The argument then should probably be, ‘We shouldn’t be having school.’ That’s the argument. Why is it, ‘We shouldn’t be playing football?’ Why has that become the argument?”

Because that’s the box the NCAA and amateurism has left football in, Nick.

Presumably the conferences have been watching the professional leagues play and noticed the track record of the NBA and NHL, which have their players operating in safe bubbles, compared to MLB, which doesn’t.  But there’s no way the schools can adopt that approach without admitting the obvious about college athletes.

So, instead, we’ll get more dithering, lauded by the likes of Tony Barnhart for what passes as “leadership” in college sports.

Prudence is nice, but what exactly is Greg Sankey going to discover in the next month that’s a game changer?  If there’s one thing we’ve all learned over the past four months, it’s that nothing has changed, except for the emergence of players’ voices.  And that’s the very thing that’s got the conferences more upset than dealing with the pandemic.

Dan Wolken has said a lot of stupid stuff about the pandemic, but on this, he’s accurate.

Don’t really see that changing in the next six weeks, but, hey, if there’s one thing we’ve had a huge supply of this year, it’s hope.


Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

30 responses to ““The decision does not have to be made now.”

  1. CB

    “our guys aren’t going to catch [the virus] on the football field”

    That’s a bold statement. They’re not going to be able to monitor these kids 24/7, and it only takes one kid attending one gathering. Dining hall, riding the bus, going to class, to bars, church, anything. Then showing up to practice asymptomatic. Boom. Outbreak.

    I’d say that is almost certainly going to happen somewhere at some point during a long season.

    Practice is a 22 player scrum just as much as the game is, and rapid tests are only about 50% accurate from what I understand.

    But yeah, Saban definitely has a point about school as a whole, but I think he may have made a stronger case for shutting the school down than playing football. You know, unless they put the kids in a “bubble of amateurism.”


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    “[W]hat exactly is Greg Sankey going to discover in the next month that’s a game changer?”
    Well, they got to the end of July, which I thought was the decision point, and they managed to delay the decision again. There has been a downward trend in new cases and deaths since about July 20, but it’s pretty gradual. Maybe Sankey is hoping the downward trend will accelerate.


  3. TN Dawg

    Unlike sports writers, the players want to actually play.

    The sports writers can still write their columns with or without sports. They don’t really care if POC get a chance to display and develop their skill sets that could make them millions.

    They definitely don’t care if an inner city or trailer park kid gets their free ride to Eastern Michigan University or Arkansas State and become the first in their family to get a diploma.

    They don’t care about the hundreds of thousands of athletes lifted from poverty by the education opportunity provided collegiate athletics, because Todd Gurley didn’t get a shoe deal until he turned pro.

    Do nothing sports writers think they are the true heroes, even though most never played the sport and stand to lose nothing while they play social engineer.

    And they pretend they know something when they know nothing. Want to see a miserable clusterf*ck of a failure? Put the Dan Wolkens if they world as an AD, a Conference Commissioner or an NCAA Commissioner.

    But they know they’ll never have to do that, safe to lob their tweets and blog grenades from their position of safety at the keyboard.

    Honestly, commissioners shouldn’t even entertain the questions or consider the thoughts of the peanut gallery media. All they do is complain and criticize. They fancy themselves more intellectual, but they really are nothing more than a more pompous version of those toothless 300 pound hillbillies yelling “far the coach”. Birds of a feather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug Gillett

      Did your wife leave you for a sportswriter or something?

      Liked by 8 people

      • TN Dawg


        Good one.

        But no, it’s nothing personal, just an observation.


        • Doug Gillett

          Then as someone who’s spent quite a bit of time around sportswriters, and who has written more than a little bit about college football myself, I’d like to offer some observations of my own.

          People who write about college football love college football. Not just the team(s) that are on their specific “beats,” but the sport in general—its traditions, its wildly diverse array of fans, its general craziness. Put us down in front of Bumblefart State vs. Mid-East Southwestern Idaho Tech and we’ll still find a team or a player to root for and get jazzed about.

          Yes, we can write stories and columns even when there aren’t games going on—and it gets really old after a while. There’s a reason Spencer Hall goes on a two-week walkabout in late January of every year, because the prospect of seven months without college football is that awful to contemplate. There’s a reason we get more worked up about the new edition of Phil Steele hitting the newsstands than Catholics do about white smoke coming out of the Vatican chimney: It means college football is actually here and we can finally watch some honest-to-god games.

          Yes, we do care about the players and their stories. Let me ask you this: How have you been learning about “the hundreds of thousands of athletes lifted from poverty by the education opportunity provided collegiate athletics”? Probably because sportswriters told you their stories. Partly for that reason, sportswriters—the ones I’ve worked with, anyway—spend more time with, and often care more about, those players than the ADs, conference commissioners, and NCAA suits who seem to view them as little more than paving stones on the path to more lucrative TV deals. (Yet ironically, when sportswriters advocate for the players getting a bigger share of that pie, they get shouted down as socialists by many of the very same people now accusing them of not caring about the athletes at all.)

          Maybe, just maybe, the sports media have been sounding alarms about the risks of the upcoming season not out of apathy or a desire to look like “heroes,” but because they actually do care about the players’ welfare. Maybe when they ask tough questions about safety protocols, logistics, and liability waivers, they’re doing so not because they’re trying to torpedo the season, but because they’re trying to hold accountable the commissioners and ADs who up until now have been way too content to send the players out on the field with little more than a pat on the back and a “Good luck, we all gotta go sometime.”

          You could, if you were so inclined, join them in holding the bigwigs’ feet to the fire and asking them why they’re so reluctant to deal with players as a group and take meaningful steps to protect their safety in the midst of a pandemic. But instead of demanding accountability from people with actual power and influence, you’d rather rail way at sportswriters, even going so far as to suggest the conference commissioners ignore them entirely! Why? Because those guys are so trustworthy, their motives pure as the driven snow?

          Get real. Sportswriters didn’t cause this clusterfuck any more than the Weather Channel caused Hurricane Katrina. But you seem to be having a grand old time tying sportswriters into your Big Librul Media conspiracy theories, so go ahead, have a ball. At least when the season gets cancelled, you’ll have something to amuse yourself with.

          Liked by 14 people

          • TN Dawg

            I “learned” about the stories because it is my own family’s story.

            My father left a coal mining rural community, the first in his town to get a college degree, on a football scholarship.

            Nobody wrote an article about him and shared his story.

            Decades later, my nephews were afforded the opportunity to attend school at prestigious private colleges, in part due to their grades, but ostensibly because they were all-state players. They don’t pluck too many Ivy League students out of podunk Tennessee for their 3.7 GPA.

            Nobody wrote stories about them.

            My youngest nephew blew out his knee his sophomore season and never played again. He continued to attend until graduation, his $74,000 per year tuition taken care of by the university, not because sportswriters, who care more, funded his education.

            I appreciate your cogent response, I just happen to disagree with your perspective. Every good writer needs a baddie and a protagonist for their narrative.

            In this case you’ve selected ADs and Commissioners as “bigwigs” that seems “sending” the players off to their doom. This is fun for writing purposes.

            But it’s disingenuous when juxtaposed against reality. The players WANT to play. In fact, they want to drink, have sex with a partner without a mask on (contrary to UGA guidance), and live their lives.

            It’s the ADs and Commissioners that are limiting or considering canceling participation. And those that are pushing for the players’ right to chase their passion and dreams are derided as just in it for the money and being reckless with their chattel slaves.

            It’s absurdity.

            I mean look at your own response. You have set about enshrining sports writers as caring more, being champions against injustice, and fighting the evil ADs who you believe are sitting in their offices rubbing their hands together like Montgomery Burns.

            You actually propose writers are more virtuous via backseat driving than the universities, athletic departments and organizations that do the actual work to make all of the opportunities that collegiate athletics possible.

            It is not the critic who counts…..the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I’m really looking forward to seeing the hot takes from every commenter here who lambasts me for citing anecdotal evidence.

              Liked by 3 people

              • TN Dawg

                I only gave anecdotes because he asked me directly how I heard about athletes being lifted from poverty.

                My apologies if I wasn’t supposed to respond to that question.


            • Doug Gillett

              You’re right. Of all the groups with a stake in this, none of them are purely good or purely evil. There are hacky, pandering sportswriters just as there are talented, insightful ones, and noble executives who do care about athletes just as there are mendacious ones who only care about dollar signs.

              If you think various media figures are being overly alarmist regarding COVID, fine, argue that. If you think they’re being too hard on ADs and the NCAA, argue that as well. But what you’re asking me to accept is this conspiracy theory whereby legions of sportswriters are chomping at the bit to eighty-six their own careers, motivated more by a desire to stoke fear and “play social engineer” (whatever that means) than to make a living and cover the sport they love. And even if I hadn’t spent years in the company of sportswriters and other media figures who are brilliant, thoughtful people, I wouldn’t buy that for a hot second.

              Liked by 2 people

            • FlyingPeakDawg

              Dude…hooray for your family story and being, we presume, an UGA grad yourself. But come on… even if no “Podunk” newspaper never wrote about Daddy or the nephews, the story has been written thousands of times proving the press did it’s job. Sportswriters aren’t making college admins look bad…they are doing a horrifically terrible job of doing it all by themselves. See Emmert, Mark. Scott, Larry. This list goes on and on.

              Read the entire Teddy Roosevelt quote: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7-it-is-not-the-critic-who-counts-not-the-man

              You should be ashamed of applying that to the feckless leadership that runs (ruins?) college football today.


            • ASEF

              Urban loved to smack around sports writers and blame “conspiracies” against him. Because he’s a dick and has no other option than trying to divert people’s attention to something else.

              Usually, the moment someone starts blaming media, I start thinking, “Guilty as charged.”

              Pretty useful heuristic, imo.


    • Derek

      You know that sportswriters don’t make any decisions for anyone right?


      • dawg365

        They don’t but I think he was trying to make a point that they do sometimes try to influence the decision makers by using the power of the pen.


      • mp

        The administrators sure wish someone else would make the decision for them…

        I think the problem is that their medical advisors (and lawyers) are telling them they have to make the unpopular decision (except for how popular it would be for the sportswriters who hate the sport they have devoted their lives to)

        Liked by 2 people

    • CB

      Fortunately nothing they write has any bearing on what will eventually happen with the season. If it does get cancelled, and there’s a good chance it will, they will have simply been stating the obvious all along.


    • Maybe you should opt out and just begin reading The Fiinancil Times ?


  4. otto1980

    What is Sankey going to learn in the next month? Well…. back in June offices in Atlanta were considering allowing cube dwellers back in their cubes in mid July. The numbers went up. We’re at home and haven’t heard a thing on that plan.

    Further the SEC can sit and wait. If the Big10 votes not to play, I can see contract negotiation to allow Penn State, anOSU etc in a larger conference with pods. which would be worth more than what they’re going to get currently.


  5. Louie

    I think Nick nailed it and the Senator did a good job in expanding on it. Sankey’s point about waiting to make decisions seems legit to me because the amateurism problem will really become an issue if in-person classes have to be canceled in early September. Classes are scheduled to start in 9 days and 30,000 students will descend on the UGA campus and behave like college students while cases in Georgia and the country are still high. If we (and the other SEC schools) are somehow able to continue in-person classes, a late-starting modified season might be possible, but that seems unlikely to me. What happens when students come back will determine what happens with football and nothing sports pundits write about it will have any affect on that.


    • Tony BarnFart

      I’m still a fan of bubble the team for a month….go to the quarter system (late sept start)……but announce it after everybody is already back in athens (ha)…….keep all older people and other responsible citizens away from athens for said month…..relax all curfews, bar closings and noise ordinances…..let live music commence again for a month (if you can find the musicians) and let all the clowns get the virus at the same time. Boom, campus clean and recovered in 1 month.


  6. dawgphan34

    Imagine it’s 2020 and you are still mad online about sports writers because someone didnt write a story about your dad.

    Also consider that it is 100% likely that someone did write a story about your dad in the paper. And there is probably a copy of that article somewhere in your house.

    And yet there you are an adult man, mad online that sports writers disagree with you.