Before Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11, the sports world was continuing on with only minor inconveniences. College basketball conference tournaments were still being held, NBA and NHL games were being played, and the grand NCAA Tournament was still on the docket.
The day prior to Gobert's bombshell test result, the Ivy League was the first notable sport or league to fully cancel an event. It decided not to hold its men's and women's basketball tournaments that were scheduled later in the week.
Within 24 hours, the Ivy League canceled the rest of their spring sports.
Many were critical of the Ivy's decision, myself included, in how it felt rushed and an overreaction given how the country had yet to take the virus seriously. How could they make such a grand verdict when no one knew the gravity of the situation?
Turns out the smart people knew what was coming.
Before the clock struck midnight, the NBA had shuttered its doors. The following day, the NHL, the NCAA and the rest of the sports world soon accompanied them. Months went by without a single team sporting event being held.
The Ivy League was the first to suggest the drastic concept of canceling sports. Despite those schools' (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, etc.) reputations as the highest regarded academic institutions, no one listened. We overreacted with our objection to that idea when we should have been following their lead.
These are the most well-informed people with insane IQs. No one listened until a prominent athlete tested positive forced their decision.
Now, it is happening again. The Ivy League is canceling their fall sports season - football included. No Ivy League athlete will compete until at least January 1, 2021.
The wait suggests that they are hoping for a potential vaccine or better containment of the virus by that time.
For weeks and months, the NCAA and school officials across the country were working to try to avoid this reality. A world without college football is unimaginable. But, this is the first domino and other schools should heed their warning.
Initially, schools and other conferences will not accompany the Ivy's decision. All the schools within the conference are FCS programs and don't nearly rely on the revenue of their football programs as much as FBS schools. Last year, the Big Ten generated three times that of the Ivy just from football alone.
Losing football for even a season could decimate college athletic departments. Nearly all of these schools need that revenue to fund several other sports. Stanford already disbanded 11 sports programs. Several other departments have been gutted as well.
What will make it financially worse for these schools is if they make all these precautions to have fall sports and then the sports are inevitably canceled. Sure, the Power 5 programs have much more at stake than the Ivy League in terms of monetary gain so they will hold out longer. Eventually, though, one school will deem it's not worth it. And then another and another.
These athletes not even getting paid, like other professional leagues who restarted. In the Ivy League, they aren't even getting a scholarship for their education. All for what? Schools to profit off of these kids and for fans across the country to be happy?
How can a school justify jeopardizing the health and safety of a student-athlete when they get nothing out of it? If a collegiate athlete gets severely sick because of the coronavirus, the school is not paying for his or her treatment. Nor, do the athletes have million-dollar salaries to avoid drowning in debt incurred from any potential hospitalizations.
There's no guarantee that these sports can be held safely. NASCAR and the NWSL are having success so far, but other professional leagues are running into issues left and right just to even have a bubble. Good luck attempting to try and wrangle 18-25 year-olds - who are not getting paid - to stay within a bubble on a college campus.
Ethically, it is not a justified decision for colleges to have sports right now. For the Ivy League, they rightfully put the health of their athletes above money.
Hopefully this time, the school presidents and athletic directors make a wise decision for their school and leagues. Hopefully, they are not forced into doing so like the rest of the sports world was back in March.
If we learned anything during this pandemic, maybe we should listen to the people who know what they're talking about. If that means no collegiate sports in the fall this year and we all have to wait until spring, then so be it.
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