You know, I can actually hear conference commissioners’ balls shrink as they read this:
But for those pressing forward to play, heed one warning: The lawyers will be circling. Not the ones counseling conferences to avoid trifling with players’ health, but the ones who will be doing the suing if, God forbid, a player dies, has long-term damage or career-threatening complications. In an email to Sports Illustrated, prominent college sports attorney Tom Mars offered this chilling view of what the Big 12, ACC and SEC could be getting into:
“Whatever conference(s) decides to play football this fall will be taking a ridiculously high risk they may soon regret. I know and have talked with some of the best plaintiff’s lawyers in the country this week, and they’re praying the SEC, Big 12 and/or the ACC are greedy enough to stay the course. If things go sideways, the plaintiff’s Bar will immediately get their hands on the internal financial analyses of the schools (a FOIA layup), get the conference financials through the discovery process, and then just stand in front of the jurors and point to the conferences that decided not to risk the health of their student-athletes. Good Lord, I’d hate to be the lawyers defending those cases.”
And the attorneys lining up to represent plaintiffs? “These are lawyers who’ve already slain bigger dragons than the SEC, and they can afford to finance the most expensive litigation on the planet. As a coalition, they’d be the legal equivalent of the Death Star.”
But fear not, fellas! Brian Kemp’s got ‘yer backs.
“Across the South, college football is a sacred tradition, and I want to see it played this year if we can ensure the safety of players, coaches and staff,” Kemp said in a social media message.
“Based on recent discussions with university leaders and sports officials, I am confident that they are putting the health and well-being of our student athletes first.”
Well, shit, he’s nailed everything else about the pandemic so far. What could go wrong listening to him now?