So, you’ve probably noticed the absence of the Anchor Drop, or really anything, from me over the last few days.
Part of the reason for that: laziness. (Okay, most of the reason for that.) But a bigger part of the reason for that: uh, are we going to have a season at all?
Over the past couple of days, we’ve started to hear rumors that the Ivy League is going to push its football season to the spring. Or so that’s thought to be what will happen at a meeting the league is holding tomorrow, and before anyone jumps in and says “yeah, but that’s the Ivy League,” remember that back in March, the Ivy League was ahead of the curve in calling off its conference tournament for basketball. While players for power conference schools got the news that the tournament was called off literally minutes before tipoff (or at halftime of the first game on Thursday, if you’re the Big East), the Ivy League had come to the same decision that everyone else ultimately did two days earlier.
In short: the Ivy League is considering the same factors as everyone else, only they’re not prisoners of a budget that relies on revenue from football or men’s basketball tournaments to fund everything else on campus. That factor is why you’re getting quotes like this from the Big 12 Commissioner:
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday that until the conference is told to stop by local health or government officials, it will continue to put “one foot in front of the other.”
Or this, from the AAC commissioner:
“I’m still not of the mind to say, ‘Gee, we shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘We should throw in the towel,’ but on the other hand, am I less confident than I was maybe a week ago? Absolutely,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any way you wouldn’t be.
The calculus here is obvious: Power 5 conferences would like for there to be a season, almost need there to be a season in some cases, and currently aren’t of the mood to admit that it’s probably not going to happen. Not when the U.S. posted its 28th straight day of record-high COVID-19 cases. I wrote last month that if we’re going to have a season, programs are going to have to figure out how to work around the pandemic, and frankly, that’s not going to work if this is how we’re going to handle it:
Louisville has temporarily suspended all basketball related activities for two weeks after two program members tested positive for coronavirus, per release.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 7, 2020
This certainly isn’t to cast judgment on Louisville for suspending basketball-related activities after a couple of positive tests, but more to point out that if that is how we’re going to handle two members of a program testing positive, then the season isn’t going to happen. You can either play the season and accept some risk that people will get the virus, or you can shut everything down and not have a season.
Right now, though, reading between the lines, college sports is trying to have it both ways, and that simply isn’t going to work. There is no way that the season will happen if positive tests are going to lead to entire programs getting shut down for two weeks.