COVID CATASTROPHE: Oregon Football and FishDuck still FIGHTING

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 29 Comments

So a ten-game Pac-12 schedule begins on September 19th; do you believe it?

I do not, as I believe the liability risk to the university of a player getting sick or a spectator who not only acquiring the disease, but suffering the worst is too much risk for survival as an institution. In terms of the probabilities–the likelihood of lawsuits is the most credible if they go forward with a schedule and most of us know it. A player can survive COVID, but sue for internal damage to the body and the loss of anticipated NFL earnings, etc. Thus I believe the liability risk is too much for the University and will remain untenable until a proven vaccine is available.

Kevin Cline

Should Penei Sewell take the chance?

As for a spring football season? If we have one it will be diluted, as all juniors and seniors who have a shot at the NFL would sit-out the 2021 spring season in favor of preparing for the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft in the winter and spring of 2021. And what about the wear and tear of two football seasons in eight-months? And the risk of exposure to COVID at the same time … more eventual lawsuits?

My FishDuck friends, I hope for the best, but am expecting the worst as I believe that if they don’t play football, then neither will any of the other sports play over the 2020-2021 academic year. That to me is the highest probability and it will take a miracle to alter that ultimate scenario.

Can you imagine no events at the new Hayward Field?

What About the FANS and FishDuck?

I believe Coach Mario Cristobal, the staff and the team have done the best they can with all the uncertainty. They are fighting for a season, for the program and the health of the players as best they can. The disruption to their lives and their future mirrors what the rest of us have faced, and the uncertainty seems just about as draining as the stress brought about by the disease.

As fans, it has sure messed with our lives and plans. We all feel the pain of losing Oregon sports, possibly over the next year and that would include Mr. FishDuck and the staff at FishDuck. It makes it hard to plan, because what will there be to write about–for us to discuss if we don’t have sports over the next year? The reality also is that without the sports many fans will refrain from even coming to this site, as they will feel there is nothing new.

“Was it Over when the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?”

I smile thinking of that line from Animal House and yet it pertains to our plans at FishDuck; we are not going away regardless of the absence of Oregon sports. For the present, we will continue with articles seven days a week, but things will change when we get into the College Sports Apocalyptic Era

Once the worst is announced by the Pac-12, we will at minimum have articles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I am working on potential article types for Sundays as well during the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era. Once arrived at–we will post a schedule and make it available to all, and for us hard-core Oregon fans … there are always items to discuss and ponder over the nine-to-twelve-month period that I anticipate.

We will delay the roll-out of the Our Beloved Ducks forum until we know when the football is actually going to begin, and that release would occur before the season were to start play. Scratching for one article topic a few times a week is tough enough, but to have that many generated every day inside the new forum to initiate discussion?  No need to create any more mountains to climb over during the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era.

Credibility Lost? Experience and Wisdom Gained…

We had quite an event at FishDuck a few weeks ago when we published an article dealing with the name change of the rivalry game with Oregon State in all sports. It was not popular, and the backlash came from three different groups who made their feelings quite clear in emails to Mr. FishDuck.

Kevin Cline

Amen Duck Brothers and Sisters…

One group did not want the name change and resented the direction of the article. Another group agreed with the article but felt that it did not go far enough, and that Mr. FishDuck should implement a long list of items they suggested in their correspondence. The final group hurt Mr. FishDuck the most by stating that the founder of the site violated his own “No Politics” rules, and thus the site and the principal had lost significant credibility in their eyes. There is no dispute with what they wrote, and it initiated some reflection that continues to this day.

I would not change publication of the article as I felt it contained information that I and many other Oregonians were unaware of, and thus performed an important public service. Yet I do acknowledge that it contained a political message in it, and thus violated the rules that have worked so well over the last two years. Less than 1% of all comments ever get deleted and it is refreshing to have civil conversations and vigorous, yet respectful debate in the comments. This is a jewel, a GREEN REFUGE from the nastiness in the world at this time.

There is a reason why big sites such as CNN, PBS, ESPN, USA Today and even OregonLive have removed the comment sections below their articles. Because managing it is hard, and I know this from the tons of hours spent in discussion with people in the course of implementing policy, making mistakes and correcting those errors over time. There are so many different fine lines and distinctions to recognize in monitoring comments, and yet also take the time to be decent to good people who sometimes get too exuberant.

Kevin Cline

All types of Oregon fans, and I love them all.

I have deleted hundreds of comments referencing politics over the last two years from all of you, and I hope you can overlook this from yours truly, for getting pulled in an unanticipated direction-even with good intentions. My FishDuck friends … this is why what we have is rare, is because it is incredibly hard to pull-off. Even when you have rules that work, you get drawn into surprising directions and it only takes one misstep to hurt your credibility.

Just as I sometimes slap the hand of a commenter/poster who has violated the rules, I just had the rolled-up newspaper whack me across the head as well. This was a great learning experience, a Stress-Test of the unique rules we have and it has made an undeniable impact on me. I have gone through a ringer in creating these rules, refining them, and becoming savvier of the behavior of others (and myself) than anyone at any website ever.

It has made me wiser, and more appreciative of all the readers who take part in this grand adventure. It also reignites my passion, the drive to continue learning, and the resolve to fight through the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era as Coach Cristobal and his intrepid team will.

“Oh how we will never cease to ponder, (even through COVID CATASTROPHE) Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

Brad Nye, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a land conservation attorney in Central Oregon.



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The Comments Below are CLOSED, as we are moving to the OUR BELOVED DUCKS Forum!

Comments below articles are now closed as we have moved all conversation over to the free Our Beloved Ducks Forum. It has been a big success already with many more posts than what we could fit into the comments below articles.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Be a part of the forum and stay caught up!  When you wish to post there, do know that you are protected just as you were on FishDuck. Join us on the free forum right here!

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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I am shocked that the University of Oregon has no real, proactive, testing plan in place. Students and staff aren’t going to be tested and there is no quarantine time either. How can there be football or academics without a well thought out plan?

If you look at what some universities are doing, like University of Vermont, it is completely different. Students are asked to self quarantine and then all be tested before academics get going. There is isolation places set up and tracing, testing plans, people are being proactive.

It is sad that it is the exception where people are putting action plans in place. There may be no perfect plan, but any plan is better than little to none!

Without a testing, tracing system set up along with an isolation facility the school year will most likely look like a mini Florida or Arizona. It pisses me off, selfishly, because I want football. I also want these student athletes to get the education and opportunities they deserve.


I think Vermont classes start Aug. 31. I believe Oregon classes start September 28, so maybe (fingers crossed) they’ll have a plan in place soon.

Jon Sousa

What do we talk about? Recruiting, former Ducks in the pros, teaching analysis of plays and strategy, politics (just kidding).

Speaking of that last one, I did not think the article a while back was political for the reasons I mentioned in the comment section of that article. Therefore, I did not think that it violated the no politics rule. I thought it was an educational article on the political history of the subject at hand that was simply intended to help the current fan gain a perspective that they would not otherwise be able to see.

If changing the name of a game or the name of a team or mascot is a political decision, it would be impossible for fans to discuss such name change without somebody thinking that the discussion has drifted into the political arena.

So, Charles, my humble opinion is that you should not be hard on yourself. How can Duck and/or Beaver fans talk about dropping a name without someone thinking it is a political discussion??? But if the game has been nationally televised and celebrated under a certain name for years, do we not even mention it except as “The Discussion that will Not Be Named”?

I appreciate all the effort you are putting in to helping sports fans of all stripes to live and discuss in peace.

Jon Joseph

YES! Let’s keep it civil. Or not?


Seattle Storm New York Liberty 71. The first thing Sabrina is going to have to learn how to do is lose. Of course this game was against the Storm, who are picked to win the championship; and the Liberty, who won the rights to draft Sabrina, #1, by being the worst team last season, and the 2nd youngest this season, are on a different trajectory.

Despite the 16 point margin, the Liberty competed the whole game, it certainly didn’t help to lose one of their big’s, Kia Nurse, early in the game with a sprained ankle. Until the end, the Storm would build up leads, only to see the Liberty to cut in to it. But, TO’s, 19, and poor shooting, 34.8%, by the Liberty, held them back.

At times Sabrina looked a lot like the Sabrina we’d come to love, mainly some great passes. But, her shooting was bad, 4-17, 0-8 on 3’s. She finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds & 4 assists. The Liberty has some talent, and as the season progresses , the players learn to play together, and Sabrina gets her shooting touch back, they’ll win some games and be entertaining to watch.

Tomorrow, at 12:00 on ABC, tune in to see Ruthy Hebard make her WNBA debut as her Chicago Sky takes on the Las Vegas Aces, and at 2:00 on the CBS sportsnetwork, Satou Sabally and the Dallas Wings take on Maite Cazorla and the Atlanta Dream.

David Marsh

Looks like Michigan State had their entire football team in quarantine…. Not a good sign for the rest of us.

Jon Joseph

Lot of good $5.5M does you, huh?


Dan Radakovitch, AD at Clemson, yesterday announced 800 tests of athletes and staff with not a single positive result. How ’bout them apples?

David Marsh

Everything will all come down to bubble integrity… Keep those bubbles well isolated and it will work… The problem with bubbles though is that they are prone to popping…

Still holding out hope though…

Jon Joseph

‘I got her number!’


Hard to believe that something like a virus causing a global pandemic could be politicized. To me it’s just about common sense and shouldn’t have had anything to do with politics or philosophical viewpoint. Being a biological scientist I realize my perspective may be different than many though. But if there was ever a time to close the divide and realize we were all in it together this would of been it. This moment in history does not bode well for the future of our country.

If we could of stayed the course we were on in April, like many of the worlds countries did, then we definitely would of had a season. But due to many factors, we find ourself in a horrendous position at this juncture.

I agree with you Charles, I think the season is toast, due to many poor decisions made by hundreds of thousands to millions of people each day we are looking at at least another year of needing to social distance, wear masks, shut down college and high school sporting events etc. etc. etc.

A very sad situation we find ourselves in.

Santa Rosa Duck

Is it a given that there will be a successful vaccine? No, but there appears to be some hope. I seriously doubt we see a season this year. Here in California, COVID 19 is exploding. We could lose all four of the California PAC 12 teams.

As for no fans in the stadium, I just tuned into ESPN to watch Sabrina. There are no fans and I personally find that a lot of the fun is absent with no crowd noise, no crowd surge etc. I would imagine that an empty Autzen would be a downer. Thank you Charles for a fabulous DUCK site that must be visited at least once per day!


Another outstanding article Charles! Unfortunately, I agree that we will not be having college athletics for the remainder of 2020.
Thank you for your relentless support of our beloved Ducks.

Jon Joseph

You want to put the final nail into the “Student-Athlete” coffin, ask young men to play football when no fellow students are on campus and no folks are in the stands.

Wisconsin AD, Barry Alverez, noted yesterday that not playing football in 2020 will cost Wisconsin $100M. This is amateur athletics, right?

As you so correctly noted in this great take Charles, the sharks (lawyers) will be circling and you cannot simply waive these predators away.. The leaders of educational institutions are going to take this risk? I doubt it.

Call 2020 off. No more conjecture in the face of an unseen enemy that is not ready to sound retreat.

The NCAA and all conferences across the board need go to Congress and ask for ‘too big to fail’ relief. And perhaps, take a step back and ask whether athletic department budgets should rest on a razor’s edge.

I for one am torn. The pursuit of a Natty is exciting, no doubt. But has taking CFB from a regional to a national game, fully monetizing the sport and turning it over to media partners, made it that much more enjoyable? Should anyone be paid $9M plus to manage a college football team? Should the ‘managers’ be paid millions when the ‘performers’ are receiving a token?

Perhaps it is time for the Pac-12 and hopefully, the Big 10, to take a step back and ask if the ‘playoff game’ is worth the candle? Return to the days when it was The Run For The Roses that mattered. Tell USC to go to its room with its lame, ‘but we have to play Notre Dame’ excuse and set up a formal agreement with the B1G for conference versus conference OOC games.

Thank you Charles for this site and the keep on keepin’ on attitude. This too shall pass. But again, perhaps it’s time to ask if the football tail should be wagging the educational mission, dog?

Mike West


There once was justification for paying an “exec” 9 mil to garner hundreds of millions of dollars. I like the National atmosphere, but clearly most in the PAC12 landscape have other interests outside of college football to care. Except when USC and UW were lifting trophies (probably would be the same for us if we hoisted one ourselves-we’re a National Brand, and we would have received mad love for winning a title).

The real tragedy? Millions of kids saw a nuclear winter fall on their scholarship dreams. For a very long time.

I promised myself I wouldn’t rant about all this so I’ll stop. But like ASU’s clueless President, people don’t recognize how serious the situation is.

You might think 100 million dollars is crazy for sports, but consider how much a university receives from tuition every three months. It’s usually close to that hundred million…for each school.

Jon Joseph

Thanks for your thoughts Mike. Hopefully. like many the kid in the Ivy league and elsewhere, Pell Grants will be available to help these kids out.

I have to wonder if a sport cannot pay for itself, should it be a varsity and not a club sport?

I get the intent of and agree with the goal of T9 but putting football schollies into the mix really changed the calculus.

$100M any way you slice it is still a lot of bread.

Maybe it’s just because I am an old gas passer but if CFB had an Elite Division of 32 teams, was a member of a conference for all other sports and shared Elite income in some manner with other conference members, would CFB be better than today’s conference oriented structure?

If Vandy was able to drop football and remain in the SEC for all other sports, would that be so bad? My guess, there would still be far more applicants for admission at Vandy than places for incoming freshmen.

The $ to be made from an Elite Division with its own media deals and network would be legion. And perhaps, we could have a HS draft of kids who wanted to be paid to play?

I think that today’s concept of the ‘student-athlete’ is simply passe. A vestige of the last, if not the 19th century?

Conversely and as I noted above if it was all about The Run For The Roses and the end of my conference is better than your conference in CFB, would that be so bad?

I think the Pac-12 got caught in Roy Kramer’s and the SEC’s bigger mouse trap.


Jon, of course you’re right, student-athlete is the raison d’etre of the NCAA and it won’t give it up no matter how collegiate sports have evolved. Look back at the scholastic scandal at UNC a few years ago; the NCAA couldn’t touch it. All they can do is punish schools for recruiting violations; and it blatantly resists and pushes back at any attempt at systemic change.

There is no doubt in my mind that college football was more fun pre-BCS, and even more the current system. The big bowl games at the end of the season, the AP and UPI Polls at the end of the season. Who cared if it was a split decision, more fun stuff to talk about until next year.


I don’t know if the Ducks will play, I have even more doubt about the chances that it will kick off in Cali; if it doesn’t then I don’t see how an in conference schedule would work. It’s a strange time right now. Baseball has started, the NBA is set to start at the end of next week, and don’t forget, Sabrina makes her WNBA debut, in a couple hours, at 9:00 on ESPN.

Jon Joseph

All the pro sports have one guy in charge; a commissioner. And it is easier to ask people getting paid to play, people who are ‘protected’ by a union, than it is ‘amateur’ athletes.

Thanks for the heads-up on Sabrina.


And at 1:00 pm Oregon vs. huskies in football 2019 season, followed by Ducks vs. Cougs, 2019 season on PAC-12 Network.


Is it likely? 50/50.

Is there a chance?

Keep all players and personnel from each team isolated and smart and there is a chance. Don’t let them use facebook and twitter as their news source. Don’t listen to the naysayers.

I was wondering if they would add an extra game for the sake of competition. I am actually disappointed they didn’t add 2.

Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

But they do know how to toss a pizza and a Caesar salad, no?

Personally, I’m blaming Canada! Tired of USA based teams winning the Stanley Cup, the guys and gals in Ottawa came up with the perfect plan to call off the NFL season.


Hopefully, we will see CFB football played in 2020? But it ain’t looking good.


Haha. No such thing as a Caeser salad in Italy. I think that’s was an Italian immigrant invention after USA arival.

The salad’s creation is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States.[2] Cardini was living in San Diego but he was also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition.[3] His daughter Rosa recounted that her father invented the salad at his restaurant Caesar’s (at the Hotel Caesar) when a Fourth of July rush in 1924 depleted the kitchen’s supplies.” From Wiki, but could be Fake News. lol.

Jon Joseph

WHO KNEW! Thanks brother + stay safe.


Having lived in San Diego for 18 years, with many trips to TJ, I can confirm that this account is taken as gospel in that part of the world.