Fun, Fun, Fun ‘Till Covid Takes the 2020 Season Away

Jon Joseph Editorials 40 Comments

Now is the summer of our discontent, to be made glorious by the return of ball in the fall?

Brothers and Sisters, Duck campers, is anyone having fun? Including the young men who play college football in The Conference of Champions? I for one, am simply bummed. Please allow a grumpy, old man to count the ways.

  1. COVID-19 — I hold this particular beef to be self evident.
  2. The Pac-12 Player Demands — I get the health and economic concerns expressed by a number of guys who play ball in the Pac-12.

The Health of Student Athletes

The very idea that “student-athletes” are being asked to assemble, to practice and to play when their fellow students are not allowed on campus, is another nail in the archaic student-athlete model. And the lack of leadership from the NCAA regarding the COVID-19 virus, while not surprising, also speaks for itself.

Twitter

Harvard, Yale and all Ivy League Athletics will opt out of sports the 2020 Season.

The health of college football players appears to be of far more concern to the respective presidents of Ivy league schools, than is does to the respective leaders of Pac-12 schools, no? The Ivy League has cancelled all fall sports. None of the members of the Power-Five (P5) conferences have done so. Why? Follow the money.

There are no athletic scholarships in the Ivies. Many college football players and other Ivy League athletes do receive tuition assistance, augmented in many cases by Pell Grants, but no one is receiving scholarship assistance based on their promise to play a given sport.

Further, the Ivy league has not yielded itself to major media companies. The conference’s athletic departments will not be rendered insolvent by missing out on NCAA money as a result of the 2019 Basketball Tournament being cancelled, and football not being played in 2020.

Twitter

Sabrina Ionescu off the Matthew Knight Arena court was the expected lowlight of 2020 months ago.

Ivy League athletes are student-athletes, not athlete-students, as is the case in Power-Five sports programs. The finances of Ivy league athletic departments are not balanced on a razor’s edge. No college football coach in the Ivy League is compensated anywhere near the lowest paid coach in the Power-Five.

Power-Five athletic departments are now caught in the billion-dollar mousetrap that has been built. Media money has fueled coaching salaries to the level of the absurd. In 2019, Clemson head coach, Dabo Sweeney, was paid $9M+ for coaching 15 football games. Power-Five conferences have surrendered program control in large part to ESPN, Fox and other media entities. How many big-time college football games these days are played in daylight?

The college football so-called “Playoff” is, for all intent and purposes, owned and operated by a Walt Disney subsidiary, ESPN. Since the inception of the Playoff to its conclusion at the end of the 2025 season, billions of dollars will be paid to P5 and G5 conferences and schools. But as COVID-19 has shown, this money appears to be nowhere close to feeding the college sport’s beast.

From Video

Dabo is pulled down over $9 mil last season.

Is it just that the entertainers, the players, want a reasonable share of the proceeds the management is making? I say, yes!

Is it righteous for Pac-12 college football players to be concerned about their health? Of course!

Do all of the remedies suggested by the players make economic sense? No. Stanford endowment money in trust should not and will not be made available to the players. And the players are not going to receive a significant percentage of the game day and media proceeds.

But stalling on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) approval and other enhanced player benefits has to end sooner than later. And it is senseless for Division III programs to be represented on the NCAA Committee considering the NIL issue. As a matter of fact, does continued membership in the NCAA  make sense for Power-Five schools?

I do applaud the Power-Five conferences for allowing its players to opt out of fall sports without their scholarship being affected.

Pac-12 Player Demands and Race

I reiterate, I have no beef with players raising health and economic concerns. But race? I see no nexus between these two issues and the color of a person’s skin. None.

I have watched college football for over six decades and the best thing I have witnessed, bar none, was the integration of the SEC and SWC conferences. Then came the open acceptance of the best athletes regardless of color. Thank goodness today we have no quota on the number of POC players who can suit up and start. And the idea that a POC is not suited to QB his team is today, laughable.

No one is suggesting any kind of pay-for-play system or a different health standard based on a person’s skin color.

Twitter

Jackie Robinson lettered in four sports during his time at UCLA.

I understand and respect the umbrage over the lack of black head coaches in college football. But this is an entirely separate issue and thankfully, is being addressed. The Pac-12 may be down college football-wise, but it is the P5 leader in the integration of coaching staffs. Not surprising considering Jackie Robinson was playing football and baseball at UCLA before Major League Baseball was integrated; integrated by Mr. Robinson.

Things to Be Grateful For

Enough whining. What I am happy about and grateful for:

  1. Charles — for a-keep-on-a-keepin’-on with FishDuck. Thank you, sir.
  2. The (Putative) 2020 Schedule — Come 2026, I would like the B1G and Pac-12 to take back the Rose Bowl.

But because of money (see above) we are more likely to see an eight-team playoff field with all P5 champs in the field. In this event, lose the divisions, play two out-of-conference games and 10 conference games. The top teams in the regular season play a champ game on the home field of the top seeded team.

  1. This, Too, Shall Pass — Until this happens, and it will happen, please, brother and sister Ducks, stay safe.

Jon Joseph
Georgetown, TX
Top Photo From Twitter

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

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BigDucksFan

Good article Jon and interesting feelings you have there. One thing I agree on whole heartedly is that Larry Scott an idiot. However I would have to say that the real idiot’s are those who let him stay at his job after screwing up so much and even worse paying him more money after he does so. The people being duped by this man should be well aware of the harm he has done to the Pac over the years but for some reason seem inept to do anything about it. Maybe its time to start wondering, why ?? Maybe it’s time to look deeper into the abyss as something is amiss there.

Charles Fischer

“I resemble the fish reference!”

Another epic article that makes us all ponder, and BDF’s point about the university presidents does make one wonder why they give Larry a pass.

Charles Fischer

It’s happening folks! RESPECT given to the Ducks when we have not earned it yet…I think being rated in the top ten with some of the issues on offense–the newbies–considered? In the old days, we would have to be 5-0 before we got a sniff.

Now, with that respect, we are given the benefit of the doubt until we prove otherwise. Isn’t that knocking on the door of being considered an elite program?

(I know…a great editor on the staff, Bob Rodes says, that I’m “a fool for formatting,” and I cannot disagree!)

30Duck

https://www.si.com/college/alabama/bamacentral/alabama-sec-conference-only-schedule-revealed-blackwell

Alabama picked up Kentucky @ home, & Missouri on the road; LSU gets, Missouri @ home & Vanderbilt on the road.

30Duck

Penn State LB, Micah Parsons, a projected top 5 pick, has also opted out of playing this season. I think # 9 is just about right; it is nice to be included with, “the teams that are always there” in top 10’s

This just in; during a conference call Jim Harbaugh reported that Ohio State had broken on-field instruction rules. In response, Ryan Day said that the Big 10 will need to establish a mercy rule because the Buckeyes will score 100 against Michigan.

Last edited 1 month ago by 30Duck
Charles Fischer

Folks…Jon has license to do that as we are Duck-Buddies who have had so many laughs over the phone. In other words, “we know each other!” Hence usual rules of decorum are lifted between us for our occasional guffaw.

DumpsterFire

There’s kind of a crossover between yesterday’s article and today’s, so I see some heated discussions again. By the way, there were some good debates yesterday…thanks to you all for that.

So one thing that stood out about Mr. Joseph’s article today was his student-athlete vs athlete-student remark. That’s where I’m going to take a crossover from yesterday to today. I see a lot of issues with the players (speaking in general, not specifically Oregon) who don’t see themselves as student-athletes. Two come to mind immediately…coincidentally one of them is pictured in today’s article, Mr “We ain’t come to play school, classes are pointless” himself, Cardale Jones, and I never have to set foot in a classroom Johnny Manziel.

College sports, while I agree that there are things that could and should change for the athletes, is supposed to be first and foremost about student-athletes…where their education comes first, they just happen to be lucky enough to have that education paid for because they’re good at a certain sport or two. That has gotten lost over the years and most sports have essentially become minor leagues, and that’s how quite a few of the athletes see it, not as a chance to get a higher education.

The irony is that with some schools being driven by their sports teams rather than education, it’s impacted both negatively. Case in point, do you know who plays rugby for the University of Cambridge, or who is on the football (soccer) team at Oxford? They both have teams and both sports are huge over there, but they’re about education, like all universities in the UK…heck, not just the UK, but overseas in general. There’s a reason the US is falling behind in several areas regarding education, and I have a feeling sports, and our love for it, plays a huge part in that.

Before I drag this out into the second edition of War and Peace I’ll leave it where my thought process is going…do the demands of the football players circle their rights as student-athletes, or athlete-students? There’s a huge difference, and if they look at it from one view only then there is no right answer for them, or the universities…

Last edited 1 month ago by DumpsterFire
Charles Fischer

Yesterday’s Article:

Thank you for your participation and feedback about yesterday’s article, as to me….that string of 75 comments epitomized what I want here, which will be expanded even further when we later have our own forum. It was a contentious subject, yet all remained civil among Duck fans who were passionate about their feelings, and wrote their thoughts superbly.

It is so rare on the web, and I just so appreciate everyone in this community.

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Fischer
DumpsterFire

I’ll go with a yes and no on this one. I see what you’re saying, but comparing a movie to any normal business, which the PAC12 is, is kind of like comparing apples to hand grenades. Just because they may outwardly look somewhat similar, the meat of what they’re for isn’t even in the same universe.

In reality Larry Scott is more akin to the CEO of a major corporation than he is the director of a movie. I mean can you name one reason someone like Andrew Cecere is paid over $14-million a year? The reality is that most likely people don’t know who he is (CEO of US Bank for those who don’t know), nor do they actually know what he does. The truth is that there are probably more reasons why he should be paid that much than there are why he shouldn’t.

Look, I’m not advocating for Larry Scott here, I have my opinions of the guy as well but I also understand he’s in an almost impossible situation. The average person, which most of us are, don’t really know the ins and outs of what he has to do every day. Most people see the small picture and rarely do people take the time to delve into what he can do, what he’s allowed to do and how different it looks to anyone not directly related to his job. Seriously, who hasn’t complained that their boss does nothing? Can you honestly say you know what they actually do though?

ptdduck

Big time college football and basketball players have been exploited for years. It’s not that difficult to see. The entire edifice of a billion dollar industry is built on top of them. Amauterism is an outdated ideal in this day and age. It’s paternalistic and self-serving.

DumpsterFire

So first, I got off work early today and had been sitting at Hop Valley quaffing an ale or three since about noon, but I also forgot what password I used to log in here with and have as of so far commented from my work computer (yes, I am lucky enough to be able to do that without consequence)…I finally managed to get things figured out on my phone, so here I am.

Also, please forgive any spelling or grammar issues since like a lot of people I tend to just hit send/post without proofreading what I type on my phone. Sorry in advance.

OK, that out of the way…I’m going to ask that you be a little more specific with your statement. Telling me, and anyone who’s reading your post that, “It’s not that difficult to see,” is speaking in generalities. No, it may not be difficult for YOU to see, but we’re not inside your thoughts. Take the time to explain it and let us “see” what you do. You may change minds in doing so, or you may have yours changed in response.

I’m honestly interested to hear what you have to say about it, and why…

Charles Fischer

Do not mistake a lack of response as agreement from many of us. Your pronouncements feel fine to you, but some of us may disagree, and yet we want to see your thoughts despite the differences.

DumpsterFire

Hey, I hear ya. I’ve said this before, and I’m sure people will start seeing this and recognizing it in the future as I post more and become more of a regular, but I tend to fall into the role of devil’s advocate a lot. That doesn’t mean that I’m in support of something, in this case Larry Scott, it just means that I don’t like to jump to conclusions. If we all took the time to gather information before passing judgement I think we’d all be far better off than we are now.

That’s one thing I’m already thoroughly enjoying about this site is that I can voice my concerns without the “cancel-culture” mentality immediately trying to shut me up. Sure, I may be wrong, or I may even be in the minority on some views, but without discussion from both sides, how are we to actually know what’s right and wrong? It boils down to the difference between a reaction and a response.

Look, my personal views of Larry Scott aren’t exactly raving, but I’m not going to condemn the guy unless I have more than an opinion of people who aren’t sitting at least near his seat…and those individuals in the proximity are people like Rob Mullens, Mike Bohn, Mark Harlan and Jennifer Cohen. Sure, they’re not going to publicly say anything negative, but it’s their job, and the university presidents, to make the change, not ours. They’re in the true know, we’re in the true rumor.

Charles Fischer

“That’s one thing I’m already thoroughly enjoying about this site is that I can voice my concerns without the “cancel-culture” mentality immediately trying to shut me up. Sure, I may be wrong, or I may even be in the minority on some views, but without discussion from both sides, how are we to actually know what’s right and wrong? It boils down to the difference between a reaction and a response.”

Whew! Comments like that above give me the shivers, as you have stated precisely what I am trying to accomplish here.

I have been a big recipient of the cancel culture on other sites and many other readers here have their scars from voicing an unpopular or minority opinion on another site. After my own third-degree burns, I resolved to not allow that to happen here.

When I state that I want “full spectrum views” that really means I want the minority views, and even the lunatic-fringe views as again–it gives us all perspective and we learn from each other. And yet all views have to be answered with politeness and respect, even if we massively disagree with them. (And it is hard sometimes…I know)

(Your minority views, Dumpster Fire, are pretty benign compared to what I’ve witnessed before and I would ask you to continue to be a Devils Advocate often!)

Please see No. 51 and No. 52 here, as it applies to what you are stating and what we are striving for. Imagine what a forum of civility would be like?!

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Fischer
BigDucksFan

I may not know what Larry Scott does on a daily bases but I do know the results of his actions. I seriously doubt Larrys responsibly’s and leeways given are a whole lot different then those of his counterparts in the other conferences, but his costs for doing it are multi millions of dollars apart with significantly less results. He is differently the Pac’s albatross.

DumpsterFire

He very well may be, I don’t know to be honest. I just have a tendency to not have knee-jerk reactions to things. I think we have way too much of that in today’s society and the impact of making a change without having all of the knowledge, or at least a significant amount regarding the subject matter ends up hurting more than it helps.

We also have to take into consideration that Larry Scott is not Greg Sankey, and vise-versa. No one knows how it would turn out, but do you think that if Greg were to become the PAC12 commissioner he’d have the same success as he does in the SEC? On a smaller scale, but as a comparison I think we can all see, who thought that Chip Kelly would be a near failure at UCLA? How many of us were actually kind of scared at what he’d do to that program in regards to threatening conference dominance? Not the same, I know, but hopefully you see the point I’m trying to make…

BigDucksFan

It is real interesting that Chip is not having any kind of success at UCLA. Could be the subject of a 2 hr documentary.

One thing I don’t think we should do is give Larry Scott a “get out of jail free” card. We pay him a ridicules amount of money and we are not getting the results we should. We as his employer should hold him accountable.

DonealDuck

Read and listen to article and podcast and comments of UCLA / Chip on ATQ (Addicted to Quack) a couple days ago for some information towards your wanted documentary BDF

BigDucksFan

Interesting look into UCLA. Thanks for the recommendation DonealDuck. 2020 is looked at as not to improve and with UCLA’s money problems Chip may be on his way out soon. My opinion is that after his Oregon success he took on a real inflexible “I’m right and your wrong” attitude and hasn’t changed yet.

BigDucksFan

Ouch !

30Duck

Great article, Jon, usually at this time of year the intensity for the upcoming season is off the wall, and with NDSU & the Buckeyes to start it off, this season would have been crazy. Alas, tis no Bison & Buckeyes.

I agree with BDF, in that the dunce caps fit right on the heads of the college Presidents; who can see as well as all of us what Larry has done and seem fine with it. I also see where Dumpster Fire is going with the student athlete/athlete student.

Back in the day it was student athlete. The players were BMOC but they were still students. The NFL was a dream for some of them, but I didn’t see it as the primary force for them being at school. The camaraderie we see now in college football is among the recruits It’s showy, and glitzy, but it’s more about them than it is the team.

Back in the day, the star player wouldn’t think of sitting out the Bowl Game! But now it’s looked at as the player simply looking after his own interests Which is exactly what #WeAreUnited is doing now. If the NCAA had kept an eye on things and evolved with the times, things would look a lot different now

Mike West

Very interesting article Jon. The timing couldn’t be better.

No season? I think dominoes start falling. Unfortunately, money matters. Revealing just how precarious college funding truly is. Stanford is the canary in the coal mine folks.

Not that player concerns aren’t valid. But we really don’t know much about this virus outside of it being highly contagious and our generation (grey beard nation!) falls prey along with immune challenged individuals. Haven’t heard of any athletes really effected yet, but I’m sure one death will freak all athletes out. Will sports ever come back?

Yes, the players believe they should be pros before they qualify as pros. But pay me fifty percent like the NFL? Death sentence, can you advertise your pretty little head please? Plus, NLI is simply going to foster resentment like players have never seen. In an environment where people froth at the mouth over income inequality.

Race…

Always a subjective matter. And it’s being used as a divisive wedge like no other time. Valid concerns on both sides. I think Jerry Maguire speaks to it better than most movies, or people for that matter. Check out that bathroom scene. More telling about how blacks and whites perceive discussion than I have ever seen.

https://youtu.be/l1B1_jQnlFk

I’m black folks, and both Tom and Cuba nailed it on that scene. Better than both blacks and whites understand. We are one. Until we see more speeches like Trevor Lawrence’s at the begging of summer, blacks will not trust whites. Doesn’t mean blacks really grasp how to talk to whites either. So the issue will continue to go nowhere.

One thing I have been impressed by is the poise displayed by the leaders of Universities and Athletic Departments. They have to be freaking out. The Golden Goose is on its death bed, and vultures are circling. I haven’t seen so much calm from men that know College Athletics is facing tremendous changes-to the degree that amateurism may never be a part of college sports again.

I used to fret all this. Now I’m bringing out the popcorn. I can honestly say we are living in interesting times, and I’m hoping self awareness improves dramatically. We could all use it. We might start doing things that truly benefit all parties involved.

Last edited 1 month ago by Charles Fischer
Mike West

Shooooow meeeeeee the moneeeeeey!

BigDucksFan

Mike I love the Jerry Maguire link, and the words “…you think we are fighting and I think we are finally talking”.

Thanks for bringing it to us.

Mike West

You nailed it perfectly BDF. I remember when he first said it, and I immediately thought “Bingo!”.

Cruz was awesome too: “help me help you”.

Classic.

Santa Rosa Duck

I would argue that almost all of the football players are student-athletes. They all know that only 2-3% of them will make it to the NFL. Perhaps 10%+ of them aspire to get to the NFL but probably 90% know they are not getting there and they are what I call the student-athletes. They get a full scholarship, room and board, tutoring etc and hopefully most get a college degree.

BigDucksFan

Good points Santa Rosa Duck, I think one thing that is under question is for those that don’t go on to the NFL is how many are getting a useful college degree and not a degree in basket weaving, which is not very useful when you get into the real world.

Last edited 1 month ago by BigDucksFan
Trey

Alrighty athletes. We know you’re overwhelmingly people of color, but this 70 year old white dude says he doesn’t see any race issues, so pack it up.