Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

College Football Lives, Higher Academia Dies

“It’s nothing short of abhorrent when universities, trying to rescue revenues in pandemic-shortened football seasons, exploit coronavirus outbreaks by sending student bodies home to protect athletes within campus Bubbles.”

Jay Mariotti

Published

on

blank

Why bother with formal names anymore? Let’s just refer to Alabama as the University of Saban, LSU as Coach O State, Clemson as Swinney and Texas A&M as Jimbo Station. Here we’ve thought the purpose of a college campus was to serve America’s future leaders with daily doses of higher education and social direction, but this autumn, don’t be stunned if that precept is crushed by the real objective of university life.

It is, first and foremost, a place of football worship.

And don’t you ever forget it, dadgummit, even if it means protecting Lord Football at the expense of academia: ordering the student body out of classrooms, shifting to online instruction and forcing kids to return home — yeah, scram, all you future scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers — so these sacred players can be isolated from grubby COVID-19 outbreaks and still generate tens of millions in revenues for, say, the University of Mack Brown at Chapel Hill. That school formerly was known as North Carolina, until the administration saw 130 students test positive for the coronavirus last week and seized a sleazy opportunity amid a global health crisis. Hey, why not declare the campus unsafe and send everyone back where they came from?

Except the athletes!

Mack Brown - Wikipedia

“Even with not going to classrooms, that helps us create a better seal around our program and a better bubble,” said Brown, thinking only of his program and the money it produces. “The NBA model is working. They’ve had very few distractions, and what we’re trying to do is make sure our players and our staff understand that we’ve got three months here where we cannot go outside for social reasons or to eat or anything else if we want to have our season.”

This is abhorrent in so many ways, I might need three vomit bags to get through this column and three baths afterward. The NBA, NHL and other professional leagues created restrictive environments for athletes — people who are paid handsome salaries for their labor — in an attempt to complete seasons. College football is trying to create the same Bubble experience for unpaid athletes to play entire seasons, while, just as despicably, shooing away students who’ve paid tuition to learn a life skill, make friends, have a romance, build a bridge to adulthood and earn a full degree so, you know, they stand a chance to survive in a murky America and eventually pay off their college loans.

Be certain that every program in the three Power Five conferences still plotting to play games — Southeastern, Atlantic Coast, Big 12 — is eyeing the Chapel Hill experiment like bank robbers studying a heist. As students were urged to leave campus, athletes have been allowed to stay, with the Tar Heels resuming football practice Monday for a looming Sept. 12 season opener against Syracuse. If the positive momentum from power players and donors is worth absorbing the outcry from parents, faculty and media, you can be damned sure every major football factory with a virus outbreak will banish scholars to Make Football Safe Again. And when top programs pull in more than $100 million annually, if not closer to $200 million, well, they’ll simply clean the mess with a few paper towels — the quicker picker-upper — and ignore the indignation.

It doesn’t require a conspiratorial mind to snuff out the grand scheme. Universities are voicing alarm, as they should be, about virus outbreaks among party-obsessed, irresponsible COVID-iots on campuses in at least three dozen states. But many schools sound faux-shocked about these inevitable cases, obviously with football riches in mind. At Notre Dame, home of legends and fables, the school president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, canceled in-person classes and closed public spaces for two weeks after 336 students tested positive. Then he issued a warning: “If these steps are not successful, we’ll have to send students home as we did last spring.’’

Mike Haynie's advice for leaders: How to create an entrepreneurial culture  - syracuse.com

That way, the Fighting Irish can Bubble-Up the football players, maintain the financial funnel from NBC to Touchdown Jesus and share in their new ACC wealth. Notre Dame has shifted to a 10-game ACC pandemic schedule and is following not only its own money but windfalls produced by Dabo Swinney, whose Clemson cult cash-grabs annual College Football Playoff revenues for all league members and would be favored again to reach any Final Four this season. This explains why the ACC, which plans to launch its schedule two weeks before the SEC and Big 12, is particularly loud at the administrative level about soaring COVID-19 numbers. After a horde of freshmen gathered on the Syracuse campus — remember, on Sept. 12, Dino Babers University battles the University of Mack Brown at Chapel Hill — vice chancellor J. Michael Haynie lashed out at the kids’ lack of social distancing and mask-protocol, saying, “Make no mistake, there is not a single student who gathered on the Quad last night who did not know and understand that it was wrong to do so. … I want you to understand right now and very clearly that we have one shot to make this happen. The world is watching, and they expect you to fail. Prove them wrong. Be better. Be adults.’’ By laying down the law publicly, a university greases the skids for an incremental progression toward the end goal: a campus shutdown and football Bubble.

Of course, no one in power is addressing a disturbing truth: Football players remain vulnerable to virus outbreaks even without the student body on campus. They engage in COVID-19 mosh pits for almost four hours on Saturdays and during practices all week. They travel to games on other campuses and stay in hotels. Oh, and do you think all players suddenly will stop partying responsibly off campus? I agree, send all students home if the transmission rates are out of control.

But send the athletes home, too. Or else you are exploiting them, now more than ever, as servants who are taking monumental health risks that pose potential long-term damage for themselves and their families.

As Chapel Hill basketball player Garrison Brooks tweeted, “So what’s the difference in student athletes and regular students? Are we immune to this virus because we play a sport?”

No. But you are expected to suck it up as a guinea pig at the University of Roy Williams, who also is allowed to resume practice in a sport, college basketball, that should clean up its widespread corruption cesspool before it contemplates a Bubble-based season.

Video: N.C. 'Bathroom Bill' Is Discriminatory

At this rate, with North Carolina State students the latest to depart residence halls, the entire ACC will be Bubble-ized before we know it. While typical revenues cannot be anticipated in abnormal times, the conference schools (and Notre Dame) would be looking at about $32 million each for a full regular schedule and a bit less if they complete the 2020 season. See why they’d all sell their souls to Lord Football? Even a leading American academic institution, Duke, has been suspiciously quiet as it awaits its ACC season opener — at Notre Dame! — on Sept. 12. “The health and safety of our student-athletes is our unconditional priority,” chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement after N.C. State — er, Dave Doeren State — moved to online classes. “We will continue to hold practices and workouts for our teams under the previously established protocols by our University, Athletics Department and local health officials.” The expectation, the school reiterated, is “to compete this Fall.’’

All of which defies infectious disease experts who say college football should go away, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have wisely determined. In the defining quote, Dr. Carlos del Rio of Emory University said, “I feel like the Titanic. We have hit the iceberg, and we’re trying to make decisions on what time we should have the band play. What’s important right now is we need to control this virus. Not having fall sports this year, in controlling this virus, would be, to me, the No. 1 priority.’’

Del Rio serves on the NCAA’s advisory panel. Remember, the NCAA does not control a college football machine all but owned and operated by ESPN, which shares its cooperative treasures — along with CBS, Fox Sports and NBC — with five dozen or so campus factories. Almost unanimously painted as a scoundrel by critics including pay-for-play crusader LeBron James, NCAA president Mark Emmert made sense in May when he said, “All of the Division I commissioners and every president that I’ve talked to is in clear agreement: If you don’t have students on campus, you don’t have student-athletes on campus. … So if a school doesn’t reopen, then they’re not going to be playing sports. It’s really that simple.’’ Seems the commissioners and school officials have been struck by amnesia, including Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who told Sports Illustrated last spring that football couldn’t be played without a functioning classroom paradigm on campus: “I hate talking in absolutes, but I can’t see doing it. The students have to be on campus.’’ There are no absolutes when big money is at stake. If Jenkins shuts down the campus, I dare him to send home the football players.

Over Knute Rockne’s dead body, he won’t.

Yes, universities need those lucrative football revenues to help stay afloat financially and avoid cutting athletic programs. The more honorable approach: Prioritize the health and safety of the general enrollment instead of sending students home AND pocketing their money, with some schools refusing at this point to lower tuition for online-only classes. At least the students urged to flee the University of Mack Brown will be reimbursed for meals and allowed to void housing contracts. But what about those who live off-campus? And Mack and Roy still expect students to pay the normal fees — $279 for athletics, $400 for student health, $200-plus for campus transportation, $160 for the student union — even when they’re studying at kitchen tables in Gastonia and Asheville.

Dr. Anthony Fauci: 'You don't make the timeline. The virus makes the  timeline.' - CNN Video

The universities will say they’re dutifully obeying the instructions of the Trump-muzzled rock star, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told CNN, “Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

They are taking him at face value when Fauci, blunt when he has to be, would tell them to stop this Bubble farce at once. Besides, if the NFL is having trouble with authenticating virus tests — at least 10 teams are concerned about a slew of reported false positives from the same New Jersey labs — how can anyone be sure about the efficacy of collegiate testing programs? As del Rio told the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins, “What are universities about, football or educating students? It seems to me we’re twisting everything to accommodate football instead of doing what we need to do to control the pandemic.”

Pandemic? What’s a pandemic when the University of Manny Diaz, formerly Miami of Florida, hosts Alabama-Birmingham to kick off the season in just 17 days, baby?

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.