If I think back to June, that’s when I began to know in my guts that this wasn’t going to work.
How could it work? I’m not being a smart ass - I genuinely want to know how we could have had college football in 2020.
College football might be the biggest enterprise on earth without anyone really in charge.
The NCAA? The NCAA is a feckless piece of motel art in an Indianapolis Ramada that happens to run a rigged card game every March.
University presidents? You know, the tweedy academics that have about a trillion stakeholders ranging from the billionaire benefactor to the liberal arts professor that believes pumpkin sex should be taught to children. Spoiler, said professor also hates the shit out of football.
These presidents are well-compensated for the torture they must endure from sitting in endless committee meetings because as we all know - if you want a clear, efficient, bold decision, you put together a committee.
How could we expect these hyper-risk-averse bureaucrats to figure this out?
What about the conference commissioners? Ah, well they work for the tweedy academics, you see. A commissioner’s chief responsibility is strangling every last nickel out of a TV contract and saying “amateurism” and “student-athlete” with earnestness and sincerity. Harder than it looks.
When things are clipping along in non-pandemic life, one could argue that ESPN is the closest thing college football has to a boss. They have the pursestrings and the eyeballs, so the commissioners, presidents, and ADs bow before the World Wide Leader for the privilege. Thank God they don’t have to pay the pesky labor.
What’s often so lovable about this sport is just how disorganized and decentralized it is. There are 130 FBS programs. LSU built a locker room that cost more than the annual operating budget of most MAC programs.
Texas is technically playing the same sport as Western Kentucky. Oregon is playing the same sport as Louisiana Monroe.
Contrast all of this with the NFL. The NFL’s power is centralized. You have Goodell, who is an extremely well-paid whipping boy for 32 owners - of which, only like four actually have power. For the NFL to take place this fall (and it will), it will simply take Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, a tweet from Trump, and a couple other billionaire carcasses to deem it so.
Then there is the college football labor. Yes, the serfs. They’ve been unpaid (officially) since the sport’s inception, but they’re finally wisening up to how much cash is in the cartel and they’re finding their voice and microphones. What they still do not have is a collective voice. Full transparency - I’m anti-union in a free market society, but LOL at any of the aforementioned about this sport being a marketplace. This whole mess has revealed that the players need collective representation. Ideally, it’d be from attorneys that are former college athletes, but I digress.
All of this is fractured and fragmented. Who could possibly glue this shattered crystal football back together in six weeks?
I hope I’m wrong. I have opinions on corona V that could be described as unconventional. Ultimately, I think students should be on campus and college football should be played. I hope there’s a hail mary (heh), because I love this sport with all my heart. Maybe things will get sorted out in the 11th hour.
Because if conference realignment taught us anything, sometimes the interests of conference commissioners ($), university presidents (branding [$]), athletic departments ($), ESPN ($$$$), student athletes (love of game, ticket out of tough situation, education, et al), and clinically insane fans in the south and midwest... well, they align, and we get to watch the finest, fucked up sport that was ever created.