If the schools in the Pac-12 can keep their players safe from COVID-19, I’d say the conference’s decision this week to run a reverse and open the fields for football is a good one.
Certainly a late one, though.
Not only was our friendly, neighborhood conference the last of the Power-5s to decide to reinstate the sport, it will be the last to begin play, in what is planned as a seven-game season.
I suppose it takes that long to get a team ready for big-time college football, but the conference won’t play its first games until the weekend of Nov, 6-7. That could make it difficult for the Pac-12 to win a berth in the College Football Playoff, because the other power-5 conferences will have played more games.
This is obviously a controversial decision to return to play and there has been an outcry that it’s another example of universities exploiting “student-athletes” for money -- the television money the schools will earn, even though there will be no revenue derived from fans attending games.
But I would say this -- that money is important for helping pay for all sports, most of which do not produce revenue. And I don’t think it’s fair to not consider the need for that revenue.
Even with a seven-game schedule, universities will be faced with severe budget problems and I would hope it would open the way for serious discussions about the waste that’s common among many, if not all, big-time athletic departments in this country.
Coaches are obscenely overpaid. As are many administrators in athletic departments.
The largesse in regard to athletic facilities has gotten way out of control. I mean do you need Italian marble on the floor of your shower rooms and expensive leather on the seats in your film rooms? Do your weight rooms need to look like showrooms for expensive foreign cars? Do your study centers need to look better and be more comfortable than the best libraries in the world?
There must be a return to sanity with what happens to the revenue gained from college athletics and perhaps the economic depression caused by the pandemic will force a reboot for a new operating system. The old way is out of hand,.
But, for now, I must admit, I’m looking forward to some football.