PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MARCH 11
By Leo Haggerty

NOW WHAT

With March Madness officially set to begin with Selection Sunday a couple days from now, the NCAA is going to try and complete a successful post season tournament with no setbacks.  That, as we already have seen, will be a monumental undertaking.

So far, traditionally low seeds Duke and Virginia along with Kansas, have been forced to withdraw from their respective conference tournaments due to positive Covid testing results.  That puts their participation in The Big Dance in serious jeopardy.

Hey, we’re not talking about also-rans here.  These are trio of teams that have tremendous fan backing as well as enormous appeal to the television networks.  We’re talking about programs who already have NCAA Men’s Championship banners hanging in the rafters and not once a decade Cinderella entries.  These are a blue bloods triumvirate that the powers that be would bend over backwards to find a way to get them into the field of 68.  With the exception of the Blue Devils that are having a horrific season in Durham by their standards, the Cavaliers and the Jayhawks would be very low seeds.

Here’s my question and it’s a simple one.  Someone needs to explain to a bunch of 18 to 22 year old athletes why their tournament dreams were dashed for what they view as being the flu.

Look, I get it.  Over a half a million people in the United States alone have succumbed to the coronavirus which is an enormous tragedy.  So, before you label me totally insensitive to the pandemic, let me inform you that my wife and I contracted Covid in early November.  Luckily, she had a very mild case and I was totally asymptomatic which allowed me to continue donating what the medical professionals refer to as convalescent plasma.  It’s what hospitals use to treat patients that have severe cases of the coronavirus and I’m holding off on getting the vaccine for that reason.  I’m trying to do my part.

With all that being said, put yourself in the shoes of these young athletes.  If I were them, I would want straight answers to two simple questions.  First, how many college athletes have been hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms?  Finally, how many college athletes have died from Covid related complications?

Personally, I don’t have those answers but those kids deserve to be privy to that information.  It’s the right thing to do if you’re going to pull the rug out from under them.