Updated: Jul 10, 2020
As long as we must change, let’s do it right. And make some of the changes permanent. We’ll never have a better opportunity.
This pandemic has taught us some valuable lessons about listening to each other and about using this downtime to fix stuff while we’re in the holding pattern. Some of those fixes ar badly needed now! And we are seeing it play out now with news of the week. Out of this despair will come some things we’ll want to keep.
Change is an easy thing to say, often a hard thing to do. These days, with all the upheaval in the world, we get smacked in the face by a medical, political and social whirlwind daily.
Some days we just want to be left alone to our own lives, circumstances and devices. But we can’t. Nothing is going to bring back football or school or our jobs without the Coronavirus detour/termination. To Florida Gator football fans, Coronavirus is the Georgia Bulldogs and FSU Seminoles wrapped into one. Enemy with a capital E. Hate isn’t a strong enough word.
“The Virus,” as some of my infected friends call it, is the 1,000-pound gorilla that does as it pleases and cannot be stopped – so far. We wait, hope and pray for a vaccine. We have finally learned that we must live with that change and adapt to it.
At the moment it feels like we are losing ground. But colleges and universities must move forward with “What If” contingency plans.
The worst thing sometimes is when we are offered advice not wanted or needed. Most of us don’t care about your view on wearing or not wearing masks, which party we should belong to or why we should or shouldn’t go to the grocery store.
For that matter, we’ve reached a point where we don’t talk much to each other anymore, thanks to a lack of strong leadership and hyper-polarization. In fact, I talked to a top psychiatrist recently who says many of us are constrained with infighting and that her own family seems to be divided over political issues, even at the dinner table. Whatever happened to the human species’ ability to communicate?
Yet this pandemic has taught us some valuable lessons about listening to each other and about using this downtime to fix stuff while we’re in this holding pattern. Some of that is badly needed now! Out of this despair will come some things we’ll want to keep. It’s only a bucket list for now.
As we know, the drastic measures are increasing. This week we had Stanford dropping 11 sports, the Ivy League cancelling its football season and Ohio State shutting down voluntary football workouts. It was reported that the Big Ten would pass a “conference games only” mandate. Can the SEC and others be far behind? I have supported that idea for weeks.
These are serious measures with possible long-term implications. Now we must sit back, wait and pray for some kind of football season that does not in way compromise anybody’s health concerns. Maybe we just play “what if there were a football season.”
Dealing with only football, I have my own private list of “Things We Needed To Do Anyway.”
See if you can add to it:
· Separate FBC and FBS, each with their own playoff system.
· Ramp up the TV product as our living rooms are about to become our “stadiums.”
· Increase playoff games to 8-12 teams.
· This year, reduce the number of games played in the regular SEC football season and lop off some of FBC games. No cupcake games.
· Nine-game conference only schedule with one possible non-league rival (i.e. Florida-Florida State).
· Reduced coaching staff by eliminating consultants, trim roster size, shrink travel and skinny up recruiting budgets.
· FBS schools could play one non-Power Five opponent in the spring.
· Bowl games would be played by rest of Top 25 and FBS championship round.
· Fortify leadership, adjust or dump the NCAA.
· Non-revenue sports must be reduced to club competition.
· Shrink these oversized, gluttoness stadiums, build more skyboxes, widen the seats, increase the tailgating, add more RV camping lots and improve the WiFi.
· Improve concessions and clean up pubic bathrooms.
· More diligence in player injury protection and health concerns, with a large medical staff on hand for the players AND the fans.
· Don’t even start the season until mid-September or later.
· Get rid of pre-season games.
· Cut back to 12-14 games and maybe add another round of playoffs.
· Each team would pay a “tax” to help college football, even if it means having to cut salaries.
· Play the national anthems before players take the field.
· Again -- more diligence in player injury protection and health concerns, with a large medical staff on hand for the players AND the fans.
· Forget playing until mid-September or later.
Almost every day or nights on The Buddy Martin Show I get asked: What are the odds of us having a football season.
And I usually answer: I have no earthly idea. I’ve always said yes, with the caveat that there would be SOME KIND of season unless the Covid-19 prevents it. Whether there are people in the stands or the schedule is bobtailed at 6-10 games, there is too much at stake. Especially in the cash-rich SEC. Play on. Or not. Right now it’s 50-50 with the odds shrinking more each day with another boxscore on the Covid-19 breakouts.