PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 9
By Leo Haggerty

LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

The NCAA must have been reading my columns.  Why, you ask?  Let me pontificate on that subject as you know I will.

The powers that be for collegiate sports probably have observed that I have begun EVERY article with same opening paragraph.  Hopefully, they took that statement to heart when the following statement was made.

NCAA President Mark Emmert, when asked what the appropriate campus landscape needs to be to restart collegiate sports competition, said, “College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college open and having students on them.  You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body.”

First, let me make one point crystal clear.  This is all about starting college football on time.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Why, you ask? It’s because at a preponderance of colleges and universities, it’s the engine that drives the athletic department vehicle.

Athletic departments, without the revenue that football provides, would have to make some extremely hard choices as to what sports to suspend.  Not a corner that college athletic directors and presidents want to be put in to say the least.

Trust me, the NCAA had no choice but to encourage these parameters.  If they didn’t, every media outlet would be immediately rattling the professionalism sabre.

Journalists would be accusing the NCAA of a double standard.  Sending the football teams back to campuses nationwide while those academic institutions are closed to the rest of the student body reeks of pay for play.

That would may the use the term “student-athletes” a façade.  It would show the true colors of the NCAA and that is the exploitation of athletes, particularly football players, to fill their coffers at a minimal cost to the players that provide the entertainment.

Trust me on this one.  If that would occur, I would be at the forefront of that charge.  I would be “screamin’ from the cheap seats” to anybody who would listen to start compensating athletes for the financial service they provide.

So, as you can plainly see, this was the only avenue open to the NCAA.  If they would have gone down any other path, the ramifications would have been a complete disaster.

People would have started to look behind the NCAA curtain.  They, most assuredly, would not have liked what they see.