Pac-12 Decision Day: Going for It, Forfeiting or Punting?

Charles Fischer Editorials

It is time we learn the fate of the Pac-12 football season, as it was announced three weeks ago that a decision about the schedule would be announced by the end of July. By the time this is published, we may know the decision, but I am curious as to what your guess was going into the upcoming Pac-12 season. Did you (or do you) think the conference, like on a big fourth-down play, would go for it, forfeit the season or defer and punt the decision to a later date?

What do you think the conference should do or should have done … and why?

Most of you know that my prediction was a variation of two choices above: I believe they will cancel the season, but string out the decision process until we realize in October that it is not going to happen. I suspect that the universities have contract performance clauses and penalties with a hundred vendors as a reason for pushing the announcement to later date, as I cannot imagine this unusual circumstance being covered and allowed in a normal contract for services or products.

As I stated recently, I believe the liability to football programs and universities is greater than the potential reward of having a season. Again, I cannot imagine that the liability policies in place would cover this weird time we are in, which means the risk of lawsuit(s) is almost assured if a season goes forward. An additional factor is my own potential culpability as a fan: could fan selfishness cost a player his long-term health or another fan his or her life?

Kevin Cline

We would not want fans or players to get hurt!

Do you want that guilt hanging over you? Could it be a permanent buzzkill for the fan base and cool the interest in college sports if the worst were to occur this season? Could lives be saved by just waiting?

The health scenario is presently unclear, a muddled mess at best. The states of California and Arizona have big jumps in COVID-19 cases, and Oregon is predicted to go from 315 cases a day in July to over 1,600 cases per day by mid-August. These are not the circumstances under which we want to begin a season. Meanwhile, across the U.S., the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, is opening businesses up with masks required and wants to proceed with a football schedule. (As reported by Brent Pennington, Greenville South Carolina FishDuck Correspondent.)

“We want those things to happen,” McMaster said. “It’s a great part of America and South Carolina life.”

We also have to consider the natural inclinations of decision-makers at the highest level. Often, bureaucrats will take the safe way out to reduce their own risk profile. It’s easy for the county or the state to put the kibosh on events and activities, because if things turn out to be less serious later on, leaders can claim, “I was just trying to save lives.” Political leaders and university administrators cannot go wrong with that reasoning, which makes it the easier choice. The problem is … everyone else has to live with their decisions.

Judging by how the state of Oregon has operated concerning public safety lately, and the lack of preparation in terms of COVID-19 testing in the Eugene-Springfield area, I think the current situation shouts a CYA approach (i.e. cancellation of the season). That is not a political statement, but simply what I have observed and what I have seen written in the local newspaper.

Kevin Cline

Most fans in Autzen would want polite discourse as we have!

Speaking of which, let’s stick to our rules of 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean for the grandchildren reading and 3) no reference to politics. It is hard to veer away from politics when discussing the disease and our upcoming sports seasons, but this is a very sophisticated community of Oregon fans. If any group can do it — this one can. I learned a very hard lesson about the inclusion of politics in articles and have vowed to never do that again, nor allow even a hint of politics emerge in the comments.

My belief is that regardless of the election results, it is going to get even worse out there, and thus we need this GREEN REFUGE to hang out in, to veg-out for a bit each day by discussing Our Beloved Ducks. FishDuck is absolutely going to be that safe harbor in the future. Mr. FishDuck is adamant about keeping this one website Duck-Centric, as it is great fun to discuss the Oregon Sports topics of the day. The plans for the future are exciting for FishDuck, and while they may be delayed, the wait will be worth it.

What do you think the conference should do or should have done … and why?

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.

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