Suicide? Football programs in ruin. UTEs, Buckeyes, Trojans, Cardinals, Elis, Bruins, Golden Bears, Buffalos, Nittany Lions, Wolverines, Ducks, Broncos,
By now the news reported on or about August 11, the Big 10 and Pac 12 football conferences, joined the Ivy League in canceling the 2020 football season. About the same time the Mountain west cancelled its season. Leading up to this August massacre, Stanford Cardinals announced it cancelled all sports. Smaller football schools, Mid-Eastern Athletic conference, Southwestern Athletic conference, Patriot League canceled in July. I assumed these 4 conferences thought the Southeast, Atlantic Coast and Big 12 and independents would also cancel. They didn’t.
These 5 or 6 dozen cancelling schools have committed suicide.
The other conferences did not shut down. Healthy students, if they do get the China virus, overwhelmingly recover. Games are outside, where no virus can live.
I remember the Sooners of the mid 1970s who were banned from television by the NCAA for rules violations by people who had left the program by the time the penalties kicked in about 1977.
I also remember the Southern Methodist University football program which had its football season cancelled in 1987. All the staff was laid off, there was no recruiting. The players had no stage to show their talents. Whatever the nastiness of the rules violations, identified by ‘slush funds’ bribes to come to school, the perpetrators had been booted out. Left to suffer were the fans and supporters and jocks in the program. The NCAA Banned SMU in playing home games for 1988. SMU lost 4 dozen scholarships over four years. SMU had to cancel that season because it could not put a team on the field. SMU was in the Southwest conference, which began to dissolve in the early 1990s. At the time, it was called the ‘death penalty.’
When the Mustangs returned about 1989, it could not have full scholarship until 1992. SMU had one winning season (1997) over the next two decades, and no bowl game for twenty years. There are about 3 dozen bowl games, and to qualify the football season has to have six wins.
So, in the west, states with Democrat Governors include Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Montana and Colorado. Hmm.
Competitive football programs pay out $6 to $8 million a year to the head coach, and another half million a year to each of the 10 assistant coaches allowed by the NCAA. That is about a million dollars a game. But the revenues are three or four times that with concessions, ticket sales and television rights.
Television rights? For 2019, Statista reports the NCAA gets $850 million for 2019 for basketball and non football sports. College football has deals outside of the NCAA for $1.4 billion for the 2020 season, about twice what the NCAA can handle. Wells Fargo crunched these numbers for Forbes. Even if the colleges can take the loss of TV hit, that is not he end of the story. Harvard and Yale football were doubtful for TV, and their endowments in the 20 to 40 billion range, may not even notice the miss. But the coaches who lose their jobs for the year will remember this for some time. Players who thought they were going to play, watching others on the field, won’t understand the decisions by College Presidents to cancel seasons.
The Television rights would not have been available were it not for the University of Oklahoma suing the NCAA about 1980 for antitrust monopoly over television. The Sooners contacted many, if not all, of the football powers as to who would join the suit to take on the Goliath NCAA? An unstated fear was the NCAA would retaliate against a school, if it got a chance over any violation, or accusation. The only other college which put out its name forward was the University of Georgia. OU and Georgia stood alone against the NCAA. All the Judges, District, Appeals and Supreme Court agreed the NCAA was a monopoly. Breaking the monopoly expanded college Football TV, to the level for 2020.
Until the Suicide of 5 dozen football programs, it would have been inconceivable but for a world war. The football programs were not murdered by the NCAA. It was not the NCAA death penalty. If there was a problem with a pandemic, hold the games outside in the sun. No virus, China, Rhinovirus, Measles, polio, can live in direct sunlight for even a minute. Sixty seconds. Ultra Violet light sunburns human skin and any virus, bacteria, fungus.
If you are a fan of Ute football. Shake your head. If you are a fan of BYU football, smile with a 14 tooth grin. BYU is the only major football program west of Texas playing. BYU saw no reason to commit suicide. BYU is guaranteed a rank in the top 25 teams. Maybe the top 10.
Idiom. Shoot your self in the foot. This term comes from amateurs practicing quick draw with a loaded pistol. Quick draws were popular TV fair in westerns wherein the cowboys drew off in a show down in the middle of the street. High Noon. Bonanza. Pull a trigger. Trigger Finger means the curved index finger. When the drawer fails to clear the holster before squeezing off the trigger, the resulting bullet goes straight down and shoots the foot. The foot has 26 bones, 30 joints and 100 muscles. Shooting the foot is crippling for years or decades.
How does shooting your self in the foot apply to cancelling the football program? It is a metaphor for suicide. How does trigger finger apply? It is a metaphor for a solution pulled off too soon.
Don’t expect Ohio State, USC, UCLA, Penn State, Michigan to come roaring back in 2021. Ain’t going to happen.
Every high school recruit will put the playing schools, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Clemson, BYU, Texas, ahead of the gun shy schools who are not playing.
Every coach who is being recruited will put consistent teams ahead of schools who might scrub their contract for whatever reason, including pandemic.
Did you know the University of Texas football fans have a tradition of staying to the end of the game, not cutting out early if the school is way ahead or way behind, to get out of the parking lot ahead of the crowd? Maybe other schools do this, but I haven’t heard it, and I have heard a lot.
Football, with a century and a half of tradition, is American. Tennis is French. Chess is Indian. Cricket is English. Golf is Scots. Horse racing is Roman. Olympics is Greek. Baseball and Basketball are American.
Nevermind airlines packing travelers shoulder to shoulder on flights. Or thousands wondering through Costco, Target, or Walmart, every day. Or tens of thousands riding BART, Metro, FrontRunner, Trax, UTA bus.
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