Nothing in this tweet comes as a surprise to me.
I didn’t name the category “The NFL Is Your Friend” for nothing, you know.
Nothing in this tweet comes as a surprise to me.
I didn’t name the category “The NFL Is Your Friend” for nothing, you know.
If you want to know why I whine so much about the finances of college football, here’s a distillation of the problem.
Funny, but I don’t think “doing it for the kids” means what they think it means.
Would it be possible, or make sense, to intentionally create team-wide herd immunity?
It’s a question that has been lurking for weeks now. It gains steam as Clemson rolls on despite 37 positive COVID-19 tests. Most college athletes who contract the virus, the thought goes, will be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. They’ll recover and become immune, or so they think. They’ll be free to live life and compete. One Power 5 athletic director told Yahoo Sports that multiple football players and other athletes have said they’d like to get the virus now, so that they don’t have to worry about missing games in the fall.
And while coaches clearly want players to be healthy, now and throughout the season, some have mentioned to Yahoo Sports that teams with large early summer outbreaks could be at a competitive advantage come September.
Hey, they’re just asking!
Soooo… if you had to pick, which coach would you put money on to be deliberately manufacturing a COVID-19 outbreak on his team right now?
The Sporting News purports to rank the top programs in college football by assigning point values to the following accomplishments:
Sporting News ranked all the FBS programs by their past 10 seasons with a statistical formula that bridges the Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff eras to determine the top 25 college football programs.
Here are the categories we used:
National championships: 10 points each
National title game appearances: 5 points each
College Football Playoff appearances: 5 points each
New Year’s Day Six/BCS bowl appearances: 3 points each
Heisman Trophy winners: 2 points each
Overall winning percentage, All-Americans and NFL Draft first-round picks were awarded with a poll style 15-1 score. Ties were broken by the team with the best overall record since 2010.
Notice what’s missing there? Does anybody care about winning conference titles any more? And if not, why even bother with conferences?
A noted University of Illinois computer science professor has some troubling data to consider regarding widespread infection and even death.
Dr. Sheldon Jacobson told CBS Sports he expects a 30%-50% infection rate of the approximately 13,000 players competing in FBS this season. Based on his research, he also projects 3-7 deaths among those players due to COVID-19.
“A few of them could end up in the hospital, and you’ll have a small number who could die,” Jacobson told CBS Sports. “I don’t want to sugar coat it for you. I just want to give you the facts. … If everybody comes together under normal circumstances, we’ll probably see that kind of outcome.”
Jacobson made his projections from CDC data that estimates one death per 1,000 people who have symptoms in the college age group (18-22). Taking into account that range and medical care provided for football players, the death rate would be lower than the general population, Jacobson said.
He stressed those numbers could change. Based on available statistics, less than 1% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Approximately 5% of the 2.6 million cases in the U.S. have resulted in death.
Obviously, not everyone has been tested. However, with students assembling in large numbers on campuses in the fall, that ramps up the overall risk and likelihood of infection at universities.
“I guarantee someone is going to die,” Jacobson said.
… Jacobson’s estimates were backed up by Dr. Michael Saag, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at UAB.
“That’s not a hard projection to make now that I’m sitting here thinking about it,” Saag said. “Any death would be horrible. More than a couple would be a shame, actually.”
“More than a couple would be a shame” makes for a hell of an epitaph for the 2020 college football season, actually.
I’m just curious. Agree or disagree with this?
Intellectually, I don’t get this, but I’m not going to deny that a lot of people feel like that. What say you?
According to several sources within the Ivy League itself and in the ever changing world of CFB coaches dealing with protocols involved in a resumption of the sport, the Ivy League is formulating a restart plan, which could be finalized and released in the next few weeks.
The plan has two options, one of which is more radical than the other.
The first would be to open the 2020 season in late September with a 7-game schedule comprised of only conference opponents.
The Ivy League is already different than its FCS brethren by playing only a 10 game (no playoffs) regular season. This plan would eliminate the non-conference opponents and conclude a week before Thanksgiving.
The second plan, which is gaining momentum because of the increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country, would shut down football until next spring, with a start up (for practice) in March and another 7-game (conference opponents only) beginning in April and concluding in mid-May.
The article goes on to say “most of all of the Power 5 and Group of 5 FBS conferences have similar contingency plans in place”, but I strongly suspect those are plans of last resort for now, at least for the P5. I have a hard time believing Georgia’s walking away from a $4 million check to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic unless it’s under severe duress.
Even with what’s going on now, I still think the season will start on schedule, in other words. Just don’t ask me if I expect it to finish on schedule.
In another sign that Congress may not be so amenable to schools in their quest to maintain control over all aspects of college athletics, two US senators plan to submit a bill later this week prohibiting schools from compelling athletes sign COVID-19 waivers as a condition of participation.
In a draft copy of the legislation obtained by CBS Sports, the senators make four stipulations:
- An institution shall not allow any individual to agree to a waiver of liability regarding the coronavirus.
- An institution shall not cancel a scholarship or financial aid for a player who refuses to participate because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.
- An institution shall inform all athletes at the school when an athlete or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. The person who tests positive does not have to be identified.
- An institution will make sure the athletic department adheres to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
I’m sure the NCAA will be in favor of this, since it would ameliorate the problem of multiple jurisdictions having different rules about waivers. Nobody wants chaos, you know.
Eh, just kidding. Schools are probably on the phone right now asking Sen. Rubio to pull their nuts out of the fire.
When Jackie Hamilton thinks about the upcoming college football season and her son — Kyle, a sophomore defensive back at Notre Dame — her routine concerns about the safety of the sport are joined by a new fear: covid-19.
Notre Dame plans to test all players every week for the novel coronavirus, and Hamilton said in a phone interview this week she believes the school is doing everything it can to keep her son safe. But what about Arkansas — Notre Dame’s opponent for its home opener in September — where players are getting tested only if they have symptoms or learn they were near an infected person?
“Do I want my child on the field, tackling some kid who may have it but doesn’t know because he’s asymptomatic?” said Hamilton, a human resources manager from suburban Atlanta. “How is that supposed to work?”
Nor is she stupid.
Mya Hinton, a retired lawyer, expressed concern college athletic departments are prioritizing their financial well-being over the health and safety of football players by barreling forward with their normal schedule in the middle of a pandemic.
“The reality is, the whole reason we’re having this conversation is money. These football programs, especially in the Power Five [conferences], fund the majority of the other sports, and the majority of everyone’s salaries,” Mya Hinton said. “There’s a ton of money involved here, and that’s not a secret.”
I don’t understand how this is expected to work, either. Even if Georgia, for example, is doing everything in its power to take care of its players and doing that well, what good with that do when the Dawgs play a team that isn’t? What’s Butts-Mehre going to do if an opponent refuses to disclose health details about its players during the week before the game?
And it’s going to have to be Georgia that makes the call. The NCAA won’t.
On June 10, the Hintons sent an email to every athletic director and president at a Division I school, as well as to the NCAA, outlining their concerns.
“Why is it when it comes to transfer rules, profiting from name image and likeness, or eligibility requirements the NCAA can find a ‘size 7′ that every school can comfortably fit but comprehensive safety guidance for Covid-19 is delegated to the individual schools,” the Hintons wrote. They requested the creation of a parent advisory committee that would have input on safety policies with the NCAA, as well as with each of the football conferences.
Nine days later, the Hintons received a letter from Emmert. Initially, they were excited the NCAA chief had responded. Until they read the letter.
“It didn’t really address anything we asked for,” Chris Hinton said. “I thought it was pretty generic and somewhat dismissive.”
“As a parent, I empathize with you on the importance of knowing more about the environments your sons could be going back to,” Emmert wrote. “Our role is to provide guidance … State and local protocols around COVID-19 vary based on each school’s location … As such, it is the responsibility of each campus to do all they can to support and preserve the health of student-athletes.”
Too bad nobody’s paying the kids to be exposed. Emmert no doubt would find cause to jump in then.
And the kids themselves?
“Virtually every conversation I have about college sports, anywhere, boils down to this: The athletes have no voice or representation,” Nevius said, “And they’re the ones taking all the risks.”
They can’t. Don’t mess this up, Georgia.
I’m sure some of you are going to disagree strongly with this piece penned by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and professional basketball player Draymond Green, but it’s hard to argue with numbers.
The lack of rights for college athletes is also a civil rights issue, and it should be front and center in the long overdue, growing fight for racial justice across America. While Black men make up just 2.4% of undergraduate students at Power 5 conference schools, they represent 55% of football players and 56% of men’s basketball players, according to a 2018 study from the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center. Their coaches and athletic directors and college presidents are overwhelmingly white. And so are the CEOs and board members of the shoe companies and television networks and betting websites who will become millionaires off the labor of young Black men.
The schools will suggest that athletes do get paid — with a scholarship. That’s an insulting argument, akin to a coal mine refusing to pay its employees in anything other than company scrip. Yes, a scholarship has value, but many athletes are not allowed to capitalize on their “free” education because schools make sure they are treated as athletes first and students second. Graduation rates for athletes in revenue sports — especially Black athletes — fall well below their peers, and athletic programs routinely counsel athletes out of meaningful coursework to make room for athletic commitments. Moreover, even when the full value of a scholarship is factored in, the NCAA’s priorities are clear: Approximately 12% of all revenue goes to student aid for nearly 45,000 athletes, while 16% goes toward paying salaries for 4,400 coaches, according to spending data across all Power Five athletic programs as reported in the Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics database. In other words, one coach earns as much as a dozen athletes’ scholarships combined.
Reality is the current NCAA system expects poor black players to prop up athletic department finances by accepting below market compensation. (Don’t give me any of that “it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters” crap, either. Jimmy Sexton doesn’t care about that, and he’s right.)
Before you knock Murphy, know that he advocates for something most of us already agree with.
Murphy said he would support the abolition of the NBA’s one-and-done rule. He’d also like to see the NFL shorten the timeline for college football players to enter the draft. Under NFL rules, a player must be at least three years removed from high school to be draft-eligible.
“Football is the last place you should be forced to render free labor in order to ultimately get a paycheck,” said Murphy, citing the risk of head injuries. “Football should be letting kids move more quickly from college to the pros.”
Which brings us to a bottom line that the NCAA will fight tooth and nail to prevent from happening:
In the short term, the NCAA could simply waive the restrictions that disallow athletes from getting outside sources of income. In the middle of a pandemic during which some of these athletes’ families have no income, this would be the compassionate step for the NCAA to take. In the long run, our debate should be framed by a question of what real fairness for college athletes would look like.
In professional leagues such as the NBA, athletes often get about half of league revenues in compensation. Instead of the 12% of revenues college athletes get, what if it was 30% or more? Those revenues could support further education and extended health care coverage, among other things that provide lifelong benefits to athletes, instead of inflating coaches’ salaries and funding unnecessarily lavish facilities. The NCAA has the opportunity to be a partner in the process of creating equity for athletes, or it can continue to dig its heels in against reforms.
Gee, I wonder which Mark Emmert will choose.