Once again, the B1G and the Pac-12 have moved in lock-step. This time in the two conferences’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the B1G and Pac-12 powers-that-be made the very difficult decision to take a big (no pun intended) financial hit in order to err, if they err at all, on the side of their student-athletes’ safety. No fall ball or fall sports of any kind for the two conferences. The adults in charge determined that their student-athletes were not going to be canaries in a COVID coal mine. In my opinion, the two conferences with the greatest number of prestigious academic institutions, 13 in the B1G and 9 in the Pac-12 (the ACC comes in 3rd with 5), made the only reasonable and responsible decision that they could make.
Yes, the decision could have been delayed. And yes, the B1G’s PR efforts in explaining the decision were dismal; nevertheless, the correct decision was made.
Compare the BIG and Pac-12’s decision with that of the University of North Carolina. UNC, due to the number of students who returned to school testing positive, has sent the student body off campus and back home. Yet, UNC still proposes to play football in the fall? Apparently, two decades of academic fraud was not enough embarrassment for the folks at UNC. Tell me this isn’t a mockery of the term STUDENT-athlete?
Come the 2025/26 season, the College Football Playoff, brought to you not by the NCAA, but by Dr. Pepper and ESPN, comes to a close.
Will it be time, come 2026, for the B1G and Pac-12 to tell the Good Doctor and ESPN to take a hike? To take back the Rose Bowl? To return to the days when The Run For The Roses was the reward for a conference champion, instead of a ticket to the Peach Bowl?
Does it make any sense to compete against institutions that place money and football ahead of academics and their students’ health?
I say, Yes! What say you?
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo by Tom Corno
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Jon Joseph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has been blessed to have lived long enough in the west to have exorcised all east coast bias. He played football in college and has passionately followed the game for seven decades. A retired corporate attorney Jon has lectured across the country and published numerous articles on banking and gaming law. Now a resident of Aiken South Carolina, Jon follows college football across the nation with a focus on the Conference of Champions and the Ducks.
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