Pac-12 conference Commissioner Larry Scott, is unfit to manage a league, and completely inept in dealing with the fate of student athletes.
As the daily fluctuations from the official Covid-19 statistics are hastily posted online with the clinical bedside manner of Nikita Khrushchev promising mass graves under mountains of soil in the West, societal expectations are subject to continuous automatic updates, and the volatile environment is conducive to the bloviating politicians of discontent. Schools are open, but only for students within 30-foot German engineered diving bubbles, bars are serving, but last call is 10pm, as allegedly the virus is a night owl, and college football season is a go, but the modified 10 game schedule will be played in Spring.
The bastardization of everyday life in taking a modified approach to attaining happiness is at an impasse, as a spike of Coronavirus cases in Mozambique, despicably displayed on the online disease app (available on all platforms), sends shockwaves across the globe in giving public servants latitude to tinker with imposing local restrictions and mandates on local gyms and limiting how many bench presses can be going on simultaneously, as members blast their pecs back to life after four months of stifling atrophy. As absolutely no master plan exists for normalcy in the crazed and chaotic circumstances dictated by health professionals pulling the strings, besides the adoption of a universal vaccine, a decrepit existence is eminent and the haphazard schizophrenic dartboard approach in assaulting stability and peace is not going gently into the night.
For the sporting world this means a low priority standing when weighed against more important endeavors, however the concept of leisure or entertainment cannot be discounted in an environment where mental health is at a premium. Fortunately, major league baseball, golf, and hockey have restarted in a fan less vacuum of participants, coaches and support staff only in an eerie solitude of the game itself. As amateur athletics and students are a crucial culture for the development of society, the question of if, not when college football is played, has vast ramifications on the near future and the possible restructuring of higher education infrastructure.
Adopting the mentality of public health bureaucrats, university administrators are most likely taking the safe route in canceling the upcoming college football season. The move is not unreasonable considering the unknowns still involved, however the future of other scholarship sports hangs in the balance. Already, athletic conference officials and football programs have agreed on it at least in theory to a pared back 10 game schedule, featuring regional and conference opponents for the sake of managing travel and ensuring that television broadcasts bombard residences every Saturday. As revenue from TV and streaming college football broadcasts balance the athletic budget in a Title IX world of equal opportunity, NCAA and university board members are well aware that the season has to be played at some point for fear that the pool of student athletes will be severely diminished, and permanent lamentable cuts will have to be made.
The impossible 2020 endeavor of a feasible college football schedule will probably have to await the end to the pandemic, as the overwhelming complexities of adhering to safe guidelines, coupled with the presence of relentless lobbying efforts for social justice, cannot overcome the glaring display of bad optics. The NCAA and players are currently involved in an ongoing battle which attempts to define the parameters between the abyss identifying privileges of scholarship and institutionalized exploitation. Current policy dictates that if a student athlete wishes to earn income through a job during their sports season, outside employment is not allowed and even shunned upon by the legalities present within the scholarship paradigm. Even with the presence of the intolerable stipulation, an official Spring launch to the the college football season is staring down the barrel of desperation and absence of accountability emanating from a formative level of cultural awareness.
The transformation of many campuses to remote classes and online learning has already set a unheralded precedent that students of any label are safer at home in the eyes of the leadership. The facilitators of athletic department budgets, football and men’s basketball players, should be afforded at the very least the same safety considerations of other university attendees, and considering their valuable impact beyond an individual level in providing unique opportunities, a framework of protection that is comparable to the pros. That being said, the breathtaking tight rope walk across the Grand canyon between money coming in and acceptable safety standards only further harms the questionable reputation of the NCAA affiliated organizations following antiquated guidelines. Curiously, the university presidents will cast the deciding votes if the season will commence in the Fall, and the separation between athletics and academics is not implicitly evident in avoiding conflicts of interest.
What is left in this unceasing double parked hospital zone melee of knowledge versus wisdom, facts slated against truth, is the high probability that reruns of classic match-ups will fail to bridge the gap until the holidays, while computer simulations and gamers will probably push the envelope of shared imagination generating as much excitement as a collection of pub league semipros strapping on the pads, or suffering through a Korean baseball league doubleheader. The overall sporting economy currently teetering on the brink of a “beggars than choosers” marketplace of futility strengthened by fear and desperation, deals only in absolutes and cannot afford indefinite cancellation of the ratings juggernaut and lucrative behemoth that is college football. Neither can the women’s golf, wrestling, softball and baseball and other athletic programs which rely on big picture funding to exist. The result is a vexing conundrum that is born only in the hysteria of a duct-taped together world embracing a global pandemic., while forgetting the resolve of humanity. As doublespeak is evident, leisure is simply an afforded expense to the inevitable void flickering with the consistent unrest festering through entitlement.
Krushchev’s decree 65 years ago on the international stage is certainly coming into fruition from a perspective of fleeting morale as hope is suffocating beneath the crushing weight of dirt cemented by the encouragement from the countercultural movement.
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