The State of College Football–with apologies to Jon Olson

So a huge announcement today from the Big 10 Conference and the Pac 12 Conference.  They have canceled the fall football season for both conferences due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the safety of their players.  We discussed this situation and the possibility on The Sports Nerds Sunday night and I was very vocal on my opinion and feelings on the possibility of the cancellation of games this year.  It was thought at the time that the BIG 10 might just do this exact thing, but that a couple of schools might go “rogue” so to speak and go out on their own to play the season anyway.  Well, here we are 48 hours later and both conferences have decided to cancel the season, but there are a few schools that continue to hold practices on campus and do not appear to be deterred from maintaining a regular schedule, THE Ohio State, Nebraska, and that team up north, who shall not be named by this Buckeye. 

Look, I know we live in unique and unprecedented times with COVID running rampant across the country, over 5million infected, 164,000 dead…  a do-nothing administration saying it will just go away… 31.8 million unemployed as of July 4, with the unemployment rate at about 10%, there is no end in sight, because we don’t know when it wil be over, we don’t have a vaccine and there is no indication that we will actually have one by the end of the year let alone the first quarter of next year.  but to stay on topic, don’t think for ONE SECOND that the NCAA cares one iota for these kids… 

They are UNPAID amateur athletes enrolled and on scholarship for one reason from the perspective of the universities, and that is to make these institutions and the NCAA as a whole, as much money as they can off the hard work and sweat of these kids.  The NCAA has always been about exploiting these players for dollars, they do not allow them to earn anything off of their likeness, and the NCAA penalizes universities for any discretion when a kid earns or gets paid so much as one dollar for an appearance, a signature, or if they merely get a job at McDonalds.  Child trafficking is making big news these days, with trafficking rings being busted all across the US.  My opinion is that the NCAA is the ultimate in sanctioned trafficking when they won’t allow these athletes to earn from their likeness, because they want to maintain the “integrity” of the universities and the amateurism of college sports.

The NCAA is worried about one thing and one thing only…  Liability… they are afraid a kid is going to get sick and sue the school for damages.  They earn millions of dollars as an institution off the talent and performance of these athletes yet do not compensate the players themselves  for showing their faces in NCAA advertising, promotion and recruiting tools.  Don’t give me any static or shit about how a the scholarship provided to them is enough compensation for using them in their propaganda, I don’t buy into it…  basically they believe that simply because they give these kids a free education that they have the right to use their likeness in any way they see fit…  no.. they don’t.  It is sanctioned exploitation and this has been the normal for decades.  I am glad to see a lot of these athletes begin to allow their voices to be heard, because now maybe changes can begin to be made.

Now… the other side of the coin…  Those of you that have either watched The Sports Nerds Live or watched the replays have seen the banter back and forth between myself and co-host Jon Olson regarding college sports.  He has stated on more than one occasion the exact rant I posted above, he is not a fan of college sports for most, if not all, of what I just said in the above paragraphs… I agree with all I have said, and have had this opinion for decades, yet he wil come back and say… if you feel this way, why do I continue to support college sports, to include Football and Basketball, the two sports that are the most exploited and bring in the most money in all of the NCAA.  He’s right, he has a valid point and I am the first to admit that I continue to watch and will always watch both NCAA Football from September through January up to the National Championship, and will watch NCAA Basketball during March Madness through The Final Four. The reason first and foremost is because I enjoy watching both for the intensity these kids play the game and how much they sacrifice to reach their collegiate goals when it comes to athletics. 

I don’t disagree it makes me appear as a hypocrite, I get that, but I am proud to say that I have never, to my limited memory, (I’m old) recall a time when I have spent my own money on any NCAA merchandise no matter how much I love the school I am rooting for.  That includes THE Ohio State University or Florida State, the two schools I follow religiously.  That’s a pretty lame excuse, I know, but it is a way of kinda-sorta going out of my way to not finance the exploitation of these athletes.  It’s weak…  VERY WEAK… and I accept your criticism and accusations of hypocrisy, but despite all of that I will watch for the excitement, for the last minute victories, the agony of defeat… the thrill of sport and the entertainment.  I love college football, I am passionate about watching college football, and will continue to watch until my last breath.  But in the same breath I will also be an advocate of these kids being able to benefit from these colleges using their likeness to promote the universities.

Thank you for reading…

The Sports Nerd

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Sports Nerds 8.16.2020

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