“… A healthy and safe campus is the highest priority.”

Shot.

Of all the damned bloody lousy aspects of a pandemic that belong in the nontragic categories, one has begun trickling across the American Southeast. It’s the school-by-school cancellation for 2020 of on-campus football tailgating, that national art form of runaway merriment mingled with an alleluia of fat grams.

Auburn announced its cancellation on Wednesday. Alabama had done so on Tuesday. Mississippi State canceled its alumni-association tailgating back in early summer. These absences will double as rational and offensive to anyone who likes life, and if one moves through those three places along the map westward, one begins to approach Shangri-La.

This thought must be a peerless bummer in tailgate Shangri-La: the University of Mississippi.

There hasn’t come any announcement from Ole Miss, that Sydney Opera House of tailgating, and there’s ample reason for reasonable procrastination like they’re doing at Georgia, where athletic director Greg McGarity took a wait-and-see on Wednesday by telling reporters, “We’re not even out of August yet, so we’ve got plenty of time.” But in a league which plans to play a conference-only football schedule beginning Sept. 26, and for the Ole Miss people who arrange their autumn Saturdays around the rhythms of the 10-acre mirth mass called The Grove, there’s already cause to wince.

Chaser.

Oh, and speaking of Athens

Even with plans rolled out this week calling for mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing ticket holders, bringing together somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 people together in a pandemic is risking exposing them and others to COVID-19, according to two epidemiologists.

“I don’t think that’s a wise move right now,” said Kathleen Bachynski, assistant professor of public health at Muhlenberg College. “When you have 20,000 people coming from all over the place to be in the same space together even though being outdoors could mitigate some risk, there’s just so many other moving parts and so many ways that social distancing could be ignored or forgotten about that I think you’re creating an additional both significant and not necessary risk certainly in terms of public health. There’s just not enough added benefit here to warrant the risk that could generate for the community.”

… Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said he’s leaned on the 14-member SEC’s medical advisory group. Georgia also consulted with local and campus officials that included UGA health officials, it said.

“We think we’ll be able to practice social distancing in a way that will allow fans to come and be as safe as possible,” he said. “We feel that we’ve mapped out the stadium that wan can maintain social distancing and still abide by CDC guidelines as far as keeping people as safe as possible. People can opt out. People elect to come to our game. People that do come certainly will have a level of risk as they move towards the stadium. We’re thinking the numbers that we have will be like a rainy G-Day (spring game)….It’s going to look very sporadic for sure.”

“People that do come certainly will have a level of risk as they move towards the stadium.”  Well, then.  Don’t say he didn’t warn ‘ya, homies.

Of course, this being Greg McGarity, a little bet hedging is in order.

McGarity said depending on health conditions, it’s possible that games could still be held without fans.

“We have to be ready to pivot every way,” he said. “If the numbers are where we can’t do it and we’re being advised not to do it, certainly, that would affect attendance.

Bottom  line, just as it’s been for months, these folks don’t have any more of a clue about what we’re facing than we do.  They want college sports to get paid without risk exposure, which is a pretty narrow line to walk.  Hope is a helluva drug, that’s for sure.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

25 responses to ““… A healthy and safe campus is the highest priority.”

  1. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    I don’t recall Smokey & the Bandit deciding to meet at the 10 acre mirth mass but I do recall they said to meet at Ole Miss.
    What is your 10-10, kick it back c’mon?

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    • James A Mercer Jr

      Gee, another health expert’s opinion…and from Muhlenburg College no less. Given the number of profs at the potential number of schools, and their expert opinions (the problem number would be overwhelming!) This could drag the indecisive ADs and Governors on into the winter of 2030!!

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  2. Ran A

    Yeah, that Dish Portable Sat you have is going to be a waste of money this year. I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s going to be a ‘TV’ year. Will be interesting to see what this means for 2021. Will people rush back missing all that comes with Gameday? Or will they stay at home, watching the 65″ enjoying the fact that they are not fighting the traffic and with the smell of a nice steak on the grill at 6PM?

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    • People have known for years that Section HD is less expensive and less hassle. What you trade for that is that not being able to enjoy the Athens experience. Maybe it pushes a few more people especially those who don’t want to take the risk associated with large crowds not to renew season tickets and others to give them up to buy a big game on the secondary market in Athens. Otherwise, I imagine season tickets will sell out or be close in 2021.

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      • bcdawg97

        I live in Athens so it is less of a commitment but I’m strongly considering tailgating for the games. I’m not going into the stadium where a bunch of “muh freedoms” people won’t abide/follow procedures to keep others safe (though I don’t know how they’ll manage to socially distance 20K+ people regardless), but I would feel comfortable with our small group to head to south campus for a day of tailgating.

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        • I’m guessing that people who want to attend will abide by the protocols. The masking requirement is only necessary for movement throughout the stadium. Once you are in your seats, it appears that it can be removed if you’re sitting with people from your own household in your block of 4 seats.

          On the distancing question, I believe they are going to put 4 seat blocks together with seatbacks. If you attempt to move to a spot without a seatback, an usher will request you move to your assigned seat location or leave the stadium.

          It’s not like the crowd who doesn’t want to follow the protocols will not be aware of the requirements. The SEC has given everyone plenty of notice of what to expect.

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    • trbodawg

      Just heard a story on NPR about a candle company making popcorn scented candles for people wanting the “in theater” experience at home. Perhaps we could market a bourbon and sweat scented one for the tailgate at home crowd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Granthams Replacement

    and Fear is a hallucinogen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Geezus

    I’m sure they have a team of analysts scouring historic game footage to get enough crowd shots (with noise) digitized. That way they can move forward without fans in the stadium, but could provide the “stadium experience” to the television broadcast (which is the most important part in their minds).

    I’m kidding (I think).

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  5. Faltering Memory

    Maybe GM is the GOAT of verbal cone drills.

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  6. There is no right or wrong answer and you can’t blame people that don’t want to try and have a season and you can’t blame the people that do, now or later.

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    • What about those who want to try without taking the necessary precautions?

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      • PTC DAWG

        Who is in that boat? IF attending, I would certainly follow the rules..just as I wear a face covering while shopping at Kroger, etc, even though I’m pretty sure it doesn’t do squat.

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        • Derek

          Doctors just think they make themselves look cool with them on.

          They know masks as useless as hand washing.

          Soap!?!? Really?

          They want me to believe it kills germs?

          I’m not that gullible “they!” I haven’t laid eyes on a “germ” yet!

          Everything since the medicinal use of leeches is all fake.

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  7. What necessary precautions are correct and who is not trying to take them?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Recently moved from the West Coast back to Georgia, and obviously, one of the things I’d been most looking forward to was being able to make some UGA tailgates this year. But even with that in mind, you couldn’t pay me to go to Athens right now, or anyplace else with huge crowds, even with the chance to go to my first Georgia game since the 2018 Rose Bowl as an incentive. Thousands of people milling around and no way of knowing who’s infected, or who’s been taking the proper precautions? No thanks, and I don’t think I’m being a Chicken Little by saying that. Hope is a helluva drug, but it ain’t a plan, not by any stretch.

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  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    It strikes me funny that “we” love our football so much that we’re willing to do our weird bit to assure ESPN’s ad revenues this fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Don in Mar-a-Lago

    Governor @tatereeves says “Tailgating and game day events outside stadiums prohibited”

    It’s unbelievable that a KA and one year point guard for the Millsaps Majors is going to go four corners and try to pull off this freedom ban

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