BY GRIFFIN PRITCHARD
SPECIAL TO THE EAN
I’m tired of being in my feels and pouring my emotions out in ink. So I’m changing the narrative back to sports, my sanctuary.
Doing a quick tally of all the ‘Rona has taken from me: A) my grandad B) my ability to socialize normally and provided me with a healthy belief that our government is a bunch of men and women in a room going … (shrugs shoulders) … I don’t know blame …. (shrugs shoulders again).
But taking football season; college football season – well bahgawd that’s a facemasked covered gifthorse that we are not going to take.
For those who are new to the world, here’s what’s happened: The NFL has turned political and so has the NBA, so for the escapism that sports provides the viewer those are nonstarters.
College football represents all that is good about sports: friends, frivolity and athletes playing the game and having a good time.
And now the ‘Rona has placed that in Jeopardy as leagues and states cancel fall sports championships. First it was the Ivey’s.
Now keep in mind 27 years ago, in the winter of early 2020 they were the first league to cancel their basketball season which led to other leagues following suit and march madness succumbing to pandemic. Spring sports soon followed.
Actually the New England Brainiacs weren’t the first to put the kibosh on gridiron supremacy; the Centennial Athletic Association (DIII) noped out three days earlier July 7 to Harvardian’s July 10 cancellation. The CAA will move their season to spring 2021.
So that’s two leagues (although I think DIII could actually be considered a tangible opponent to some of Alabama 7As) that said ew gross to football and immediately reached for the hand sanitizer.
The National Junior Colleges were next so those looking for another installment of Last Chance U are going to be left longing as last season’s edition of Last Chance proved to the last one for a while.
The Patriot League, the MEAC (HBCUs playing their first season as an FCS conference) and the Colonial Athletic were the next group to officially lock the stadium doors on the 2020 season.
So, cousins, where does that leave us as leagues and teams begin to fall like flies circling an unwashed shut-in?
In terms of FBS, teams are still playing college football. The Big 10 and Pac12 have opted to play only conference games. ACC is rumored to be next which will leave independent schools like Notre Dame playing with their … dictionaries on Saturdays.
Darn, I hate that for ‘em. But they had ample opportunity to join a conference and maybe find some sort of relevance. But, alas the Domers are looking pretty dim right now.
ACC, American Athletic and the SEC have yet to announce their plans.
And now this is where it’s getting tricky. Mark Emmert, who is the head of the NCAA, finally poked his head out of his hermetically sealed office and said: “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”
To which Paul Finebaum replied succinctly: “First of all, it was nice of Mark Emmert to come out of the witness protection program to let us know what we should all know about the college football season … telling us there’s a problem is like a meteorologist telling us during a hurricane that it’s raining outside. He is a complete, abject failure at leadership. He’s been derelict in his duty and quite frankly, I think he should be fired.”
If College Football Czar was an elected official with actual power behind it, I would vote for Finebaum 10 times. And that’s not hyperbole. I know some Alabama counties where dead folks voted twice.
But as fans where does all this leave us?
In a great state of …. I don’t know.
We are roughly two weeks from August, which in Alabama is tantamount to a state holiday as it is the unofficial start to the football season. In some cases the day after the National Championship is the official start to the next football season, but for the purposes of this article we are going to pretend that the SEC fanbase isn’t rabid and operates with a clear understanding of the world around them.
Emmert’s life as the Caddyshack groundhog aside, he is right. Things are not trending in the right direction and no one really knows how things are going to play out in September.
I guess we are all going to have to treat this like Disney World: Wait in a socially distanced line for 6 hours in July and hope the ride on the other side isn’t broken.
It’s that simple.
Grif Pritchard is a former newspaper editor and today a freelance writer, with a love of sports. He lives in Tallassee, Alabama.