What Impact Will the Pac-12’s 2020 Season Have on the Ducks’ Future?

FishDuck Staff Editorials 60 Comments

Even when considering the weight of a global pandemic, did the Pac-12 schools take the easy way out for the 2020 season? Was the fear of lawsuits just too much for the brave leaders of the Pac-12 to deal with?

Yes, I’m talking to you Larry Scott.

With the advantage of a little hindsight, you have to ask yourself what could have been if the Pac-12 schools didn’t “rush to judgement” on shutting down the 2020 fall football season. Other eastern conferences were able to patiently wait for an opening and jump on it, each as best they could. Other conferences are playing fall football in 2020 and surviving, making money and keeping the fans happy along the way.

Sure, it isn’t the perfect college football experience we are all used to, but with the help of ESPN, its going down as a success. The Pac-12 leadership, on the other hand, is a dismal sight, cowering down in the corner holding up their signs saying, “Please don’t sue us!”

Yes, the players and fans are well protected, but at what cost? Has future recruiting been “dinged” to the point that many future western recruits will be flocking to the east because they’re not afraid to play football back there? Has the Pac-12’s fear of playing football in 2020 hurt Oregon’s national recruiting image?

Thomas J. Russo

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren fields questions on the proposed Pac-12/Big Ten alignment.

Oregon has utilized a lucrative national presence to its overwhelming advantage for the past decade, but the moment you cower down and take a season off as the other conferences find a way to play their favored sport, that presence could diminish greatly. Are the Oregon Ducks going to be known as the “scared” Ducks after 2020?

Oregon will pay for what the leaders of the Pac-12 did in 2020. Football always has and always will be fraught with dangers. Life threatening and life lingering dangers, but we don’t stop playing because of it. Players and fans alike have accepted this as the cost of playing football.

Why should the pandemic be any different?

Research to decrease these dangers is continuously improving, but the threats still remain to this day. Sometimes when a new monkey wrench is thrown into the mix our leaders just have to be brave and find a way. When you’re paid over 5 million dollars a year, it’s your job to find a way and not run from your responsibility, too scared to do anything but run.

What do you think?

Will the Pac-12 leadership’s fearful decisions for the 2020 football season have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the Ducks image and national presence, or will this season be quickly swept under the rug as a throwaway year while the team and fan base collectively move on?

BigDucksFan
San Diego, CA
Top Photo By: Kevin Cline

Chris Brouilette, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.

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MaiTaiDuck

This question is for Charles. Hey bud I have a very legitimate question about Kory Foreman and his recent visits to the SUCK I mean SEC. Nobody has mentioned why he was able to visit Georgia and now LSU yet Oregon and most other schools are presumably not allowed to have recruits on Campus for UVs nor OVs.

Kory Foreman’s sidekick I believe his name is Masson Smith quoted a text on 247 I think the Duck Pond about both of them playing together and believe me this kid has no clue about what he quoted and it should be a clear RED FLAG to the NCAA with Violations in Tow to LSU I’m sure. Sorry to write about something not having anything to do with your article but I was curious to know if anyone else had read this?

Please explain how they must own the NCAA as in the SEC because this is so obvious it stinks so bad people need to do something about it. What Mr Smith said in his tweet or text was a clear obvious post that they were indeed playing together and most likely for Ed Orgeron. I do not care for Mr Ed because he clearly is an Arrogant Man that needs to be knocked down a peg or two. He has in the past by the way talked smack about our school.

Also Charles 247 is CBS all the way I believe owned by Ron Sanders who himself is SEC Biased and I whole heartedly believe that site deliberately down grades Oregon’s recruits in their rankings every time these highly ranked kids for the most part if they choose Oregon like clockwork lose rankings and it’s very obvious and a lot of the posters on Duck Territory agree with that. Most the time the writers never come up with a legitimate answer to our questions because if they did tell the truth, IO’m sure they wouldn’t be writing for 247.

Thank you and please by all means Fishduck get your pay for service website up and going soon because your ideas my friend our all Home Runs in my book. Also I’m done paying money to that site that promotes the South Eastern Conference W/O a doubt and I just wish all these other sports hungry fans on the site would do likewise. Take a stand and don’t allow for this badness to continue for any reason and put Mr Sanders out of business.

duckcardinal

Interesting stuff Mai Tai; thanks for the share.

Plenty of speculation on this site in recent articles & comments regarding the recruiting impact of the Pac12 campus/sports shutdowns. This is a very specific example of how universities that are open, and playing football, will have significant advantages in the near term, that could become insurmountable in the long term.

CJ

Unfortunately the level of fire and smoke now settled in on the entirety of the west coast makes the decision not to play because of the virus a bit of a moot point I think. I don’t think we would have being seeing football due to smoke….with even the potential for whole cities harboring Pac 12 teams to burn down.

It will probably be at least a month before the smoke lifts and after that California, Oregon and Washington are all going to have a lot of work to do to rebuild.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

The local meteorologists have been forecasting the air to clear up by Tuesday next week. But it still would have cancelled the Ohio State game…snakebitten no matter what!

BigDucksFan

You would think that since these fires seem to happen every year that our leaders would have figured out a way to keep them from happening, or keep them from being so devastating.

Bad leadership just like in the Pac-12.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

There are reasons for this happening where you are in California, just as in Oregon, but we cannot talk politics…

Haywarduck

When the risk of concussions was better understood, did leagues shut down? No, they adjusted a few things and made the risk more palatable. This is what should have happened, instead we saw little or no leadership.

The Pac-12 should have waited, adjusted and played a shortened season.

That is what the NFL, along with other professional leagues did and other conferences.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I am sure that one of the adjustments made was an extra rider on their liability policy that covers concussions and other head injuries…for a ton more cost per year.

COVID is not covered in their policy since none of us knew it existed prior to last December; adding coverage now would be either hundreds of thousands/millions per year or flat-out declined.

There was only one company willing to insure NFL teams in 2019 for concussions. I wonder if all the teams bought the insurance or self insured.

It does raise a question on whether the other leagues and conferences have insurance or are they just rolling the dice.

30Duck

The BIG 10 could be starting back up: Ohio State Coach, Ryan Day:

” The Big Ten medical subcommittee has done an excellent job of creating a safe pathway toward returning to play in mid- October”

According to Heather Dinich:

There could be a vote of the presidents and chancellors as early as next week on a return to play. But, for that to happen, there must be medical evidence that something has changed since they voted to postpone the season.

Not hearing any talk like this in the Pac-12.

Mike West

Pretty damn good article BDF.

Once again, you led off with a great topic!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

BigDucksFan has just about become one of our regular writers! (And I welcome it)

Readers….got something to say? We take guest articles and publish them and as BDF would tell you–it is a blast.

Annie

One concern of mine is how the conferences that are going ahead with fall football will handle any outbreaks of COVID on the teams (players, coaches/staff)? Will they report them? Will they quarantine those infected? Cancel or postpone games.? Or will they keep quite unless someone has obvious symptoms? Is hospitalized? It’s not that I don’t totally trust the other conferences (cough), but those questions do cross my mind.

DumpsterFire

That’s what I think a lot of people are curious about…and if it’s anything like some of the pro teams that have had outbreaks, I’m sure we’ll all know soon enough.

The thing that gets me is that with everyone knowing what is, and what we should be doing, I just don’t get how these multi-millionaire pro players manage to put themselves into situations where they end up catching ‘Rona. I mean I make good money and all, but nothing like them, and in my limited abilities I’ve managed to keep myself out of the thick of things and am still virus-free.

30Duck

Interesting that you bring that up as Lincoln Riley made news yesterday saying that Oklahoma would not be sharing Covid 19 test results:

“I think we’re to the point now where we’re playing games and obviously any active case or contact trace is going to have game repercussions,” Riley said. “So, just like we would with an injury, we made the decision to not broadcast that. I know we’ve been probably the most transparent school in the country up until then, but you don’t want to give your team a competitive disadvantage, so we’re not going to do that.”

BigDucksFan

I would think that the numbers game is thought of by the schools like “the less they know the better”. Even the Pac-12 is the same way in obscuring the numbers and not separating out which sport has how many.

I think the NCAA has set minimum number of players for each position. Like OL must have 7 players able to play and must have at least 1 QB able to play etc.

Tandaian

I’m pretty sure the state of California is not allowing universities to have students on campus. So, that means 4 schools are not having football practice. Arizona and Utah aren’t a beacon of hope with their positive numbers. 6 games up to this point have already been postponed and we aren’t even 2 weeks into the season. There is flexibility built into the schedule, but college students aren’t always known to make the smart decision. I have a feeling the conferences that chose to play football will play the season out, but I’m not sure if any conference will play their whole slate of games.

BigDucksFan

Interesting, you may very well be right about the actual number of games played for the season.

UtahDuck

You mean these young people. link is to abc report of Alabama students holding “Covid Parties” to see who will get covid first…

UtahDuck

Well I think there are too many variable to actually say how this will affect the pac 12 at this time. first who knows if the rest of college football will continue or if covid outbreaks will cause football to cease, Will oregon/p12 be able to get a season scraped together by the end of the year? and how are the other teams/ conferences continuing to progress in their recruiting efforts.

Things to consider(all numbers are 247 composite), in the 2020 recruiting class California had 32 4* players, of these players 22 players signed to pac12 schools. This 2021 class also as 32 4* of which 19 are currently committed to pac schools, 6 are uncommitted and 7 are committed elsewhere. I’d say these are pretty similar numbers and when you include the crystal ball the pac 12 may keep more players from cal this year than previous year.

I think most players understand that this year is the anomaly not the standard and add in every year their will be players that prioritize being closer to home so family can more easily attend games.

The bigger concern is recruiting outside of the pac 12 territory and Oregon seems to be weathering that pretty well. Oregon has 19 commits with 5 commits being the number one player in their state. Oregon ahs commits from every p12 state except washington and commits from Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, New york, and Texas.

BigDucksFan

Quacanadian above had a good comment about the fact that the coaches also want to coach and one never knows some might switch in order to coach or be fearful of the Pac-12 in the future.

Amanda

Great article. Thank you!!

BigDucksFan

You are so welcome. (the pizza for lunch was good)

DumpsterFire

Wait….there was pizza for lunch?!?! That would have been nice to know…hehe

BigDucksFan

From a place called “Crust Pizza” in San Diego and also one of the best.

DumpsterFire

Yeah, as awesome as it sounds, I’m back on my workout/building diet…and although pizza tastes amazing, it’s too high in carbs, fats and flavor (<—pseudo joke) for what I need right now. Not gonna lie though, I’ve suddenly forgotten about football and am practically drooling all over myself thinking about pizza…thank God for this mask, or my shirt would be drenched…lol

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Amanda…you are new here and we sure want more female opinions in these discussions, so please post often! (and WELCOME!)

Denverduck07

I am very glum about all this. I think that #weareunited was the cause for Larry Scott to abruptly throw up his hands and roundfile the whole fall season. If it was just COVID, he could have continued to play it out and come up with something for the conference.

Hearing that MC is not even in the state, means there is nothing moving forward. Remotely, he seems to be doing very well keeping things together, but it is just maintaining the status quo.

Hopefully, Leisure Suit Larry will be able to navigate constructive negotiations during the downtime, when there is not a time crunch. It was not a smart move to ditch on the season, and then leave the #weareunited players on a sour note. I get that it is a tough go to seek resolution on their agenda items, but this is what the millions are paying for. The SEC is ahead of the curve, seeking to proactively address these issues, rather than hoping they will just go away.

In this position, the best the PAC 12 can hope for is to hold things together. There needs to be a better plan.

Reading these articles about the good old days of Duck history has made me blue, because I am not optimistic that it will be that good again. I hope I am proved wrong.

BigDucksFan

One has to ask the question, not why the Pac-12 isn’t playing but why the other conferences are playing. Why did they come up with the opposite decision ?? Do they know something the Pac-12 doesn’t ?? How did they come up with such a different slant on things ??

Santa Rosa Duck

Thanks BDF for creating this discussion. I think it is important to acknowledge that this is certainly not all Larry Scott. The Presidents or Chancellors of all PAC 12 Universities had a big say here but not much of this has been distributed publicly. Every state Governor had a say here. I doubt that the final decision to shut down was made by Larry Scott. IMHO it was done by the University Presidents and the state Governors.

Haywarduck

Agree, Larry Scott provided little leadership.

BigDucksFan

It’s funny the guy makes over 5 million a year and every time there is a decision to be made he hires consultants.

duckcardinal

Let’s not forget that a handful of Pac12 football athletes were complicit in the rush to judgement that may lead to dire future consequences for all Pac12 sports. These fifty or so self anointed “Leaders” produced an over the top, self absorbed, virtue signaling list of demands that did nothing but amplify the chaos of the situation, and surely contributed to the dead-stop decision that the conference leaders chose to take. It’s not ALL on Larry and the Timorous Twelve.

Sure, sure, the “Leaders” amended their demands by throwing in some equally absurd butt coverage about other sports needing to be fully supported, but the damage was already done by serving notice to the conference administrators that they would have a loud and activist athlete minority attempting to insert themselves into the business end of the conference management, vigorously supported by yelping media types with no real skin in the game.

None of the other Big5 conferences had/have these types of athlete generated considerations to deal with. In fact the BIG has a couple parent/athlete groups actively suing their administrators to allow football to be played as that conference continues to actively work at walking back from their shutdown.

Meanwhile, the Pac12 dithers and teases, while the SEC, ACC, and Big12 continue to move cautiously, prudently, and hopefully ahead with their revised schedules – in many cases for ALL fall sports – knowing full well there will be setbacks and adjustments along the way.

Elite high school athletes in all sports – and their parents – will be paying attention. Early Signing Day in December may be telling for the future course of Pac12 sports.

Haywarduck

Did Larry Scott do the right thing, really?

Was cancelling the 1980 Olympics the right thing to do? I just don’t think it is smart to punish the athletes because the adults can’t get it together. Fire Larry Scott and get somebody in charge who can run the show and ensure the games can be played with reasonable safety. These kids have 4 years, some 3 to play a game they love, make it work.

DumpsterFire

There’s a really big difference between the ’80 (summer) Olympics and right now. And the kids don’t lose a year of eligibility by not playing this season. They still have the same amount, but now they actually get an extra year of training to get their bodies in even better physical shape.

The problem I see is that a lot of the arguments aren’t about the players themselves, it’s about the fans missing out. If it’s all about the players, they have the right to transfer, opt out, or wait it out…it’s not like they’re helpless. You also have to remember, the same concerns we have about going to restaurants, stores, pretty much anywhere, they have the same concerns.

Haywarduck

The 80 Olympic athletes could have competed at the 84 game’s too. I think hindsight will question the decision to cancel the season in such a rushed way. Many like Lenoir, Penei chose to move on and their opportunity was crushed.

Agree they have the same concerns and the adults should be able to create a situation where they are reasonably safe. They can then make the choice to compete or not. Instead we have leadership which just threw their hands up and gave up.

DumpsterFire

I don’t think their opportunity was crushed…the Oregon fans opportunity to see them in an Oregon uniform may have been. Sewell’s chances of repeating as the Outland winner may have been, but I suspect he cares more about the game than personal accolades. Heck, if he could have declared after last season he likely would have. The opportunity for him and Lenoir is still there…just not here where it would have ended in a couple of months anyway.

You also have to consider that I think “cancelled” is a pretty harsh word considering it’s for the calendar year, not the actual eligibility year…especially when they’re talking about the ’21 season possibly going on as normally scheduled. I know I’ve said it already in pretty much ever post today, but all of this seems to be more of a fan issue than a player issue.

Haywarduck

You bring up a great point, all we can do is speak to the fans point of view. I wonder where the players stand on how the Pac-12 handled their season?

DumpsterFire

I don’think that we’ll really ever know, but the fact that there hasn’t been a mass exodus speaks a little louder than what I see a lot of people realizing. There’s a lot of “the sky is gonna fall” talk I hear every day, but so far all I see is a bunch of smoke (yes, pun and literal intent)…

BigDucksFan

Haywarduck, see my comment above under Jon’s comment.

Jon Joseph

BDF, IMO there was no reason to ‘rush to judgement.’

Unlike the B1G, the Pac-12 did the smart thing and moved the season start date to late September. In the interim, the conference would have had the time to access how the schools that decided to play were COVID affected. And perhaps, to seek additional medical advice?

And as Larry recently announced, ‘same day testing’ is here now or is imminent.

Some games have been canceled, among them, the TCU/SMU game. But flexibility has been built into the schedules to play cancelled games later in the season.

Watching BYU crush Navy Monday night, I couldn’t help but wonder why it is OK for the Cougars to play but not the Utes?

In all 6 conferences that are playing, players have the right to opt out All schools are testing at least 3 times a week.

I agree that the conference moved too quickly to cancel all sports for 2020. The conference should at least reconsider playing CBB in 2020.

UtahDuck

Trust me most Utahn’s are baffled by BYU’s decision to keep playing. Utah County has about 40% of the states new positive tests while only hosting 19% of the states total population, BYU is hosting in person classes and is planning on fans at the stadium, all while it will be getting colder and utah county residents refuse to wear masks.

I am frustrated by the NCAA’s entire lack of leadership and not creating a unified system for the conferences to follow. every day we learn of athletes and citizens who are affected by covid-19. I am not advocating for the complete cancellation of sports but LSU located in East Baton rouge Parish has 427 deaths while the state of utah 428 deaths total. The southern states are not taking this seriously and it is and will lead to more deaths.

I have no problem with the pac/b1g punting the decision down the road until they are sure they can conduct practice and games in a safe manor. This is what all conferences should have done. I am interested to see the results of what the ‘same day testing’ will do for bringing sports back.

BigDucksFan

There are several arguments for not playing fall football. The single one to me that carries the most weight is that of the school getting sued by a player that gets the COVID-19 virus because of playing football. 

I suspect the Pac-12 took the possibility of litigation into consideration when it made its decision not to play fall football. (although I was not in the room when they made it – – they didn’t invite me)

This of course begs the question “did the other conferences, that are playing fall football take the possibility of litigation into consideration ??” I suspect the leaders of these conferences are not dummies and did take it into consideration. So if that is the case why did they still decide to play ?? What is it that makes them think that the possibility of litigation is not a good reason to stop playing fall football ?? 

Did the playing conferences decide that they would just risk that possibility of litigation ?? That maybe the benefit of playing fall football out weighted the risk ??

Did the playing conferences figure they could put enough precautions in place to prevent players from getting the virus ?? Or enough precautions to prevent any liability on their part ??

Do they have an insurance policy that would prevent litigation ??

Did they find a loop hole that would keep them from the responsible of injury caused by COVID-19 ??

Why did they figured it was ok ?? Do they know something that the the rest of us don’t ??

Why did 3 of the P5 conferences say “yes – lets play” and 2 others say “no – let’s wait” ??

I’m not asking why the Pac-12 isn’t playing, I’m asking why the other conferences are playing ??

30Duck

Did anybody really think that the SEC wouldn’t at least start the season? The public demand is greater there, and Saban is “listening”. He has said that playing isn’t a money issue, it’s about giving the players, “their opportunity” to play. The idea of football in the spring, or even later in the fall, was a “JV league”.

BigDucksFan

Good take 30Duck

DumpsterFire

I guess here’s a bigger question; is the fans yearning to watch football worth the risk to the players, coaches, officials, TV personnel, support staff, etc., in order to simply satisfy our desire to watch a game?

It’s like if you get a flat tire while driving down the freeway in the middle of the winter, you don’t have a spare and you forgot your phone at home. You know the best thing to do would be to pull over and walk to the nearest phone, but you think, “The tire shop is only a mile away, should I keep driving?” Sure, you can, but you risk the tire flying apart and severely damaging your vehicle. Yeah, you’ll be warm on the trip, but you now have thousands of dollars more to pay because you didn’t want to walk in the cold.

Honestly, even though I want to be entertained…because that’s what it really boils down to for us fans, the bigger picture is more important than the small moment that is now…and I think the players, both on roster and future commitments understand that more than we give them credit for. Yes, they’re kids, but they’re a heck of a lot more informed about what’s going on in the world than most of us ever were at that age. Instant access to information didn’t exist back in our day (~~said in old man voice~~), and there’s a better understanding of the bigger picture because of it.

Denverduck07

DF… you always have a great take.

I would put informed in air quotes. The massive amount of (mis)information available these days does not necessarily promote folks of any age being usefully informed.

Back in the day, the sources were fewer, but more reliable.

DumpsterFire

Ooph…yeah, don’t get me started on the whole report the news vs sell the news thing…let’s just say that the soapbox I’d need to stand on for that speech would probably cover Autzen entirely.

BigDucksFan

I guess here’s a bigger question; is the fans yearning to watch football worth the risk to the players, coaches, officials, TV personnel, support staff, etc., in order to simply satisfy our desire to watch a game?

One could make the same argument about head injury’s.

DumpsterFire

True, but there are actually a lot of questions that can be asked for the same reason. I do see a difference between play through ‘Rona vs play with the possibility of head injuries (HI’s)? HI’s are a known and unfortunate part of the game that every player knows is a risk any time, any game or any practice. ‘Rona is something they can actually prevent that has nothing to do with the game itself. You are right though, arguments can be made from both sides, as well as parallels.

BigDucksFan

I see what you are saying. It’s like -” its raining out so let’s don’t play because we could catch pneumonia”, so you sit it out for another day. But then for head injuries you can’t say “lets don’t play today because someone could get a concussion” however you can’t sit it out because the head injury possibility is always there everyday.

In the possibility of a head injury won’t go away by postponement where as the possible of pneumonia can go away with postponement.

DumpsterFire

That has to be the most accurate, confusing way I may have ever had anyone agree with me…yet somehow I completely followed along and understood every word. I mean I’d clap for you but I’m just confused enough to raise a foot while I try and slap my right hand into my left…well done, sir. Well done indeed….

BigDucksFan

I hate to think my mind works like that – – – but.

BigDucksFan

Off subject: according to Kevin Wade of “Duck Territory”, Oregon’s Alex Mirabal is now the Pac-12’s top recruiter, with Oregon’s RB coach Jim Mastro at #3 and Oregon’s cornerbacks coach Rod Chance at #4. With the recruitment of Kingsley Suamataia it puts Oregon in the #3 slot national for 2021.

I guess this is why Jim Mastro is still around.

Jon Joseph

Sorry for the duplicate reference to the #3 ranking. I should have scrolled down.

30Duck
Quackanadian

BDF,

These are excellent questions. Unfortunately, I think we know the answer. Will MC be able to hold some Western talent in the Flock and be competitive for years to come? Yes, as long as he is at the helm. Heck, the coaches want to coach too, so will thy go?

Some kids will go, but the trend may buck just for “one year of play time” vs other high end more locally east recruits.

Too bad about this season, alas, another “What could have been” for the Ducks and the returning talent!

Cheers.

BigDucksFan

Yep, long ago year 2020 was lining up as a dream year, then poof it all changed. Can we now line up 2021 to be that dream year ?? Time will tell.

30Duck

That’s it, BDF, as a rule I always try to see the glass half full, so I’ll go with the Ducks and the Pac-12 surviving the pandemic and Larry Scott. Apathy is what drives the nail into the coffin, and we haven’t seen that yet. The recruiting hasn’t fallen off the cliff, the Ducks just got a commitment from 4*, Kingsley Suamataia, yesterday, and if any coach and culture can ride out 2020, it’s Mario and the Ducks.

Jon Joseph

The referenced commit helped move the Ducks up to 3 on Rivals. Ari Wasserman of The Athletic does a weekly recruiting update that yesterday featured the Ducks.

Of course, it ain’t over until the ‘fat lady’ signs on the bottom line.