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So what happens next?

We’ve officially entered the danger zone.

I don’t know if I ever really saw this coming. I figured they would essentially do what Major League Baseball has done, and try to keep it going. One team would get hit with an outbreak of the virus, and they’d just keep pressing on without that team. Looking at the St. Louis Cardinals specifically.

So I always thought we would kick off.

Now it’s looking like we won’t even get to a start of fall camp.

It’s moving fast, because it was just Friday when the SEC released their revised schedule (complete with schedule release show on the SEC Network, because dollars, right?). And not even two days later we have College Presidents and Athletics Directors setting up meetings where the expected outcome is we’re not going to have football this fall.

Part One: The Virus

Coronavirus has been a really huge impactful thing in this country since February, and it really took off in mid-March, when Rudy Gobert’s positive test shocked the country into the reality of the coronavirus. The NBA shut down, and they were promptly followed by every major sports league, and college sports.

Today the country surpassed 5 million cases of the virus, and we’re quickly nearing 160,000 deaths.

Cases total per Washington Post

Caseloads are trending down slightly, deaths and hospital rates are down slightly… things are trending in a good direction, but we had a real chance to do it all right back in April. Instead things were pushed forward recklessly, and we spiked again in June.

And here’s the kicker… this is still the first wave.

Students are getting back on campuses, and it’s going to go against all recommended health guidelines to open schools up to the public.

But there are success stories within the coverage of the virus. The NBA is a success story. The NHL is one so far as well. They’ve put themselves into a bubble and been vigilant about keeping the virus out. Which gets to my second part…

Part two: College Players are Organizing

College Presidents and Athletic Directors were pressing forward on playing because of one very cold reality… College Football makes schools money. Without football, a LOT of athletic departments can’t make their budget, can’t pay their employees, and that will have a trickle down effect on local economies and non-revenue sports as well.

Turn off the money spigot of College Football and it changes everything. Money has always been a big issue, but as TV contracts exploded in the 2000s it got even more present.

As as the money exploded so did the athletes awareness. With more and more athletes organizing and making demands and requests of the school, it’s has the potential to change the landscape of college sports for the next decade and beyond.

So Colleges are fighting against the coronavirus, and a future where a significant portion of the revenue won’t be theirs to control. A bubble would work, but that would mean the NCAA will have to admit these players aren’t regular students. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

It feels like we’re reaching a bit of a breaking point. The NCAA has no leadership steering the schools in the right direction, there’s no single point of contact controlling the message. Instead you have the power conferences all with their own way of doing things, and because they’d already cancelled most of the non-conference schedule, they’ve left everyone else in the lurch.

It’s almost like they need a commissioner.

This sucks.

There’s this weird faction of vocal weirdos on twitter and sports message boards who seem to confuse the people who are appropriately voicing their concerns about the impacts of the virus, and it’s unknown long term effects on the body, with “rooting for the virus”.

Thats dumb. I don’t know anyone who is rooting for the virus. As a part time college sports site manager, I want something to talk about that isn’t hypothetical. Trust me, I’ve spent the last three weeks researching Mizzou recruiting since Norm Stewart, I’m ready for Football games.

Since the virus hit this country, pretty much every expert has told us we aren’t doing enough. And this is the result. The people who were listening to the experts have been saying all along… “we aren’t doing enough and it’s going to come back to haunt us,” and we’re at the point where the season is going to at least be postponed. That’s not rooting for the virus.

I want to live my life normally just like everyone else. But I’m not willing to put my life, future, or those close to me at risk for some sense of normalcy. I feel like I was doing pretty good about everything, and I found out recently someone very close to a good friend of mine is having COVID like symptoms. It just sent me right back. We have got to find a way to get control of this thing, and it’s been done in other places. Let’s do it here so we can get sports back (he says as it falls on deaf ears).

And we wanna watch, Nick. We really do.

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