By Ed Peak
A report from NCAA President Mark Emmert about the upcoming college football season is disturbing and depressing. Four months from opening weekend. Much can and will happen between now and September.
“All of the commissioners and every president that I’ve talked to is in clear agreement: If you don’t have students on campus,” said Emmert in an interview with The Spun. “If your school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.”
We get it. The coronavirus has affected everyone like no one dreamed. But for goodness sakes. We are four months away. Let’s not panic.
University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi is on record as saying “students will be on campus for fall classes.” Every school in the ACC, save Duke, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are on record as saying football will go on.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby believes football can continue whether students are actually on campus or not. “School has to be in session because football players on college teams are student-athletes. That doesn’t necessarily mean that football players or volleyball players or soccer players couldn’t be taking classes online just the rest of the students…I think that meets the criteria.”
The challenge is that different areas of the country have different levels of problems. The New York, New Jersey area with millions of people have a much more difficult problem. Let’s say Michigan has to travel to Rutgers in Brunswick, New Jersey to play a conference game. Michigan has a problem as well. Is it safe? We can’t just fold and give in. We must live our lives and sports such is an important diversion to this mess.
I love sports and it’s a big, big part of my life and my family’s as well. I will never, ever take for granted another game I am attending. Whether it be eighth graders on a dirt field or UofL vs. Florida State at Louisville. If this pandemic has done one thing it has made all of us appreciate sports even more.
I married into a family 18 years ago that are huge Cardinal fans as season football and baseball ticket holders. If the Cardinals are playing on the road in football have a watch party. Bowl. They are usually there. Basketball on weekends. Baseball, same.
Please, let’s not jump to conclusions so early. Don’t worry so much. Play this thing out. Yesterday is a memory. Relish today. Plan for tomorrow. Plan on college sports this fall.