PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – AUGUST 22
By Leo Haggerty
WHY COLLEGE FOOTBALL WILL FAIL
I don’t expect any National Collegiate Athletic Association conference that has chosen to play football in the fall to make it through the season. It’s just an unrealistic expectation that is being thrust upon the players.
The biggest misconception that schools are using to justify putting “toe to leather” in September is that it’s working for the National Football League. That’s a really bad analogy and here’s why.
The NCAA isn’t the NFL where players are concerned. Pros are paid. It’s their job and their employer has the right to expect certain guidelines to be adhered to so games can be played albeit in empty venues. Still, the show must go on for $7.25 billion worth of TV money.
The NCAA doesn’t have that luxury. TV money will help but it’s not the savior that it is for the NFL. Universities need “fannies in their stadium seats” to cover their athletic budget not just for football but for all sports.
Now, before you holier-than-thou individuals start chastising these student-athletes for being human, I want you to read the following paragraphs that apply. Then, if you can follow the routine that has been laid out for them, have at it.
From what I am led to believe, here’s what a day in the life of a NCAA football player in 2020 will be. This is not set in stone, because it depends upon what school you are attending, but it will be relatively close to what it will look like.
On Monday, wake up around 7 am and have breakfast. That will either consist of making it for yourself or going to some location that is sequestered from the rest of the campus community to eat.
Then it ‘s back to your apartment/dorm room for online classes by 9 am. We’re going to assume that the course load will be 9 credit hours which translates into three classes that will meet for a total of three hours per week. .
So, if you do the math as I always encourage you to do, that’s nine hours of class time per week. Granted, some will take less than 9 hours, but not many, and some will take more than 9 hours so there will be some exceptions. Still, let’s just deal with the average student-athlete, shall we?
From 9 to noon, the player is logged into virtual learning classes on Monday and Wednesday and Friday. That covers your 9 credits for the semester.
On Tuesday and Thursday, when the athlete has no classes, that doesn’t mean it’s a free day. That will be their study days from 9 to noon.
Then, it’s off to lunch. After the noon meal is completed, the player heads to the football facility arriving sometime around 1:30.
From then until around 8 pm, football takes over. There’s preparing for practice, the actual practice, power-down and shower after practice, head to team meal and then back to the facility for nightly study table.
After that, the athlete heads back to his apartment/dorm room to sequester himself for the rest of the evening. Then, it’s Groundhog Day. Repeat the above schedule Tuesday trough Friday.
Friday will be the only day where the itinerary changes and that would be if the athlete has an away game. Then it’s a travel day to the venue for a Saturday tilt.
Now, here’s where it gets really testy. After a game, win or lose, players need to blow off steam and there’s no better place to do that then gathering somewhere with friends.
In 2020, that will be taboo. Players will be expected to return to their domicile and sequester themselves from the student body and the same applies for Sunday.
Hey, let’s be frank here. These kids signed up to have a normal college experience and play football. That’s why they call it student-athlete and, whether you agree or disagree with that description, that’s the fodder for another column for another day.
I give this plan a month, at the most, before it crashes and burns. Someone, or a lot of someones, are going to “burst the bubble” and test positive for Covid-19.
Here’s the bottom line. These kids aren’t being paid to go through this regimentation just to play football. They didn’t sign up to become cloistered monks for five months so they can compete on the gridiron.
Here’s a memo to the scribes of The Fourth Estate. Before you crucify these kids, and I emphasize kids, who “break contain” and cause their team to have to reschedule or, even worse, forfeit a contest, answer this question. Can I go through this same protocols that you are vilifying a student-athlete for breaking?
If you think you can, then you’re delusional. If you don’t think you can, then hold your tongue. Period.