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Big Ten Officially Cancels Football Season

Josh Uche
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

It feels like the last few days have been a slow death march to the inevitable end of the 2020 college football season. First, a number of lower-level leagues and teams cancelled the season. Then came Connecticut. Then the entire MAC. Now the Big Ten, which is a huge domino to fall. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Big Ten will officially announce on Tuesday that all fall sports including football have been cancelled for 2020 due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dan Patrick on his radio show, the vote was 12-2 with only Nebraska and Iowa voting to continue play.

The next step is unknown. Rumors say the Pac-12 will also be cancelling in the next couple days. There are other rumors that the SEC wants to continue playing and is even willing to pick up schools from cancelled conferences for the year. It's a complicated situation and it feels like we could have avoided this by planning a lot better for the last six months.

We try to keep politics off this website but there's no question that the future of the 2020 college football season is inextricably bound up with a number of political subjects including the federal government's response to the COVID-19 crisis over the past five months and the issue of amateurism in college sports.

UPDATE: The official vote came on Tuesday afternoon, more details here. Official announcement is here. The Big Ten will try to play a football season in the spring, but I would assume they will do that without any players who declare for the 2021 NFL draft. The Pac-12 will be announcing its cancellation later this afternoon.

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97 comments, Last at 17 Aug 2020, 12:12pm

1 This is huge and one I'm…

This is huge and one I'm surprised that was made. Considering the huge dollars at stake, I thought they might try to play this out and fail rather than wave the white flag so soon.



2 I presume students will…

I presume students will still be studying. Will be interesting to see what no football does to their graduation rates and academic stats

5 I'm pretty sure on campus…

I'm pretty sure on campus attendance is not going to happen in the fall. Certainly dorm life is not going to happen. These institutions are all going to be given a severe blow financially.

65 I'm pretty damn sure on…

I'm pretty damn sure on-campus attendance *will* happen in the fall, considering it's about to start in two weeks and it's virtually impossible for them to stop it at this point. (For reference I work at one of the Big Ten universities). 

The problem's much different with athletics than it is with normal students - students can mitigate their own risk in the classroom and on campus. Athletics can't mitigate it because the activity literally involves being very close to others. Many classes will actually be moved completely online, for instance, to try to reduce the in-person crowding.

If you think about dorm life, for instance, that's only partly the university's responsibility: if you lived in any shared housing you'd have the same concerns. Students have to live somewhere, and forcing them out of university-controlled housing isn't necessarily going to be any better.

There's also additional health concerns, apparently, as COVID19 may cause additional health complications which would be exacerbated by high physical activity. So athletes may be a bit more "at risk" as well.

3 Good riddance. Frankly, I…

Good riddance. Frankly, I wasn't going to watch, anyways. The idea of dozens of conference champions, with intra-conference-only, sans-fans games, was pretty depressing.

Can't wait for the official cancellation of the NFL season. What's the over/under for the announcement? Next Monday? September 1st?

I don't understand the criticisms of the US COVID policy. Was shutting down the economy, and bankrupting bars and restaurants, and rendering 50 million people unemployed, and every government/media source inundating us with nonstop propaganda to #SocialDistance and #FlattenTheCurve and #StayHome and #WearADamnMask not enough? What more could we have done? 150 million unemployed? Sending military troops to patrol each neighborhood and shoot anyone who walks outside? I can't imagine what harsher measures could have been taken, yet here we are. Maybe the Swedes and the Japanese had the right approach.

All this for a virus that poses infinitessimal risk to the non-senior/obese/terminally ill population. Oy vey.

4 The NBA showed the power of…

The NBA showed the power of heightened testing. For some reason that's beyond my comprehension, this has not been mandated.


If we had mass testing, then social isolation wouldn't be so necessary. You could even say if you test positive for the coronavirus you get a two week stay in a Hawaiian island hotel and that would still be less costly than shutting down the entire economy



6 I like the Hawaii solution…

I like the Hawaii solution. However, such a policy might lead to, say, a 90% false positive rate, as well a doubling of the Hawaiian population month-over-month...

7 You'd have to test positive…

You'd have to test positive first, which means willingly signing up for Corona Virus. I am not sure people would be willing to make that trade off. 


Its like signing up for gonorrhea in exchange for a two week trip to Hawaii. I've not had gonorrhea before, but I still wouldn't make that trade. 

11 You'd have to test positive…

You'd have to test positive first, which means willingly signing up for Corona Virus.

You need a positive test, not a positive acquisition. You only need around 7 tests before that becomes better odds than a coin toss.

73 You'd have to be pretty…

You'd have to be pretty stupid in a situation like that not to just repeat the test after the first positive. Dual positives take a *lot* more than 7 tests. 

76 Meh, "you" was ambiguous…

Meh, "you" was ambiguous there. I meant the testing agency. An extra test is far cheaper than a trip to Hawaii.

Really though the original suggestion points out where it's undeniable that US policy failed: the reason we can't do "test positive, strict quarantine" is that the US's testing and contact-tracing resource capacity was borderline sad early on (and in many ways continues to be). 

55 The Swedes said the US would…

The Swedes said the US would have been very stupid to follow their approach, without universal health care. As it was, they were shocked and regretful that their mortality rate was so much higher than other Euros.

18 "I don't understand the…

"I don't understand the criticisms of the US COVID policy. Was shutting down the economy, and bankrupting bars and restaurants, and rendering 50 million people unemployed, and every government/media source inundating us with nonstop propaganda to #SocialDistance and #FlattenTheCurve and #StayHome and #WearADamnMask not enough? What more could we have done? 150 million unemployed? Sending military troops to patrol each neighborhood and shoot anyone who walks outside? I can't imagine what harsher measures could have been taken, yet here we are. Maybe the Swedes and the Japanese had the right approach."

I'm actually in politics at a very low level, so I want to be measured about my response. I don't believe everything should have continued as normal when this thing came out. To throw out a meme from March/April, your grandfather fought in World War II, you can handle staying at home. At the same time, applying the same principle equally to everything regardless of circumstance should be constantly strived for. That has not happened. What was considered mission critical in some places compared to what was not was extremely hypocritical by some governments. And what some people ask for or expect as far as compliance can only really be accomplished by martial law and police cars/National Guard roaming around, which is a gigantic can of worms especially with so many people anti-police at the moment.

22 " At the same time, applying…

" At the same time, applying the same principle equally to everything regardless of circumstance should be constantly strived for"

I think that's the key. The difference in mortality probability between, say, a healthy 35 year old, and a 75 year old diabetic with respiratory issues, is several magnitudes (100x, if not 1000x). For people with known high-risk conditions, staying at home and social distancing make sense. The applications of those measures to the entire population is threatening to unmake society (a bit dramatic, but the changes to our lifestyles & attitudes, over the course of just a few months, have been enormous) and unleash even more chaos and unrest.

"To throw out a meme from March/April, your grandfather fought in World War II, you can handle staying at home."

Point taken, but that's a lot easier to say if you have a remote-friendly job. Or if you work for the state- not a lot of unemployed governors or mayors or CDC officials, are there? A bankrupt small business owner might have a different perspective.

29 Look, we never had a uniform…

Look, we never had a uniform nationwide shutdown policy.  FL's measures were significantly different from NY's.  WA's measures were significantly different from AZ's.  There were no restrictions on intrastate and interstate travel to isolate hot spots and flatten the curve.  As soon as many places started to open, people promptly went about their business as normal, ignoring basic middle-school level biology about how viruses are transmitted, which is why cases zoomed back up soon after Memorial Day.

Also, you seem to not understand asymmetric risk.  You only get 1 life.  Is it worth recklessly exposing yourself to something that could put you in intensive care or result in death under that assumption that you're a "healthy adult"?  Also healthy adults and children seem to be catching coronavirus - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-10/covid-19-cases-among-u-s-children-jumped-40-in-late-july?srnd=coronavirus and https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29579222/boston-red-sox-pitcher-eduardo-rodriguez-done-season-due-heart-issue? If you have kids, do you really want to increase their chance of a serious illness from zero to something significantly above zero?



42 "Or if you work for the…

"Or if you work for the state- not a lot of unemployed governors or mayors or CDC officials, are there?"

I had a very grassroots political position in Indiana that I just resigned because I'm moving out of county. I have a real job, my income is not government-derived. I can tell you that the Indiana Department of Transportation was losing $1 million a day in the spring due to gasoline taxes they were not collecting. I've read that local budgets in our state are going to be wrecked in 2022.

70 "I think that's the key. The…

"I think that's the key. The difference in mortality probability between, say, a healthy 35 year old, and a 75 year old diabetic with respiratory issues, is several magnitudes"

Are you sure this is the right way to think about it? A 75-year old only has a few years life expectancy remaining. A 35-year old has 40 years of life expectancy remaining. If it turns out that the virus actually has a long term slight life-expectancy reducing effect on younger people, even if the *mortality* rate is significantly different, the "number of years lost" could be heavily weighted to the younger population.

" A bankrupt small business owner might have a different perspective."

The small business owner should be yelling at the government for help managing the losses, not complaining about effects the government has no *actual* control over. If the government comes out and says "it's not safe to go to bars," and people don't go to bars, the government isn't the one that causes the losses. The virus is. People are making their own risk assessments based on the information.

Tons of people have lost a ton of revenue due to the virus, right? But some businesses have made money, too. Why am I supposed to feel bad for the lost revenue on one side, and not point to the excess revenue on the *other* side as the solution?

Some part of the economic loss is impossible to fix. It's a natural disaster. But *other* parts of it could be mitigated by action, and there isn't any.

59 No they weren't, they were…

No they weren't, they were asked to winter in Valley Forge.

If, at the first signs of Covid-19 in the U.S, POTUS had urged Americans to take this thing seriously and take mitigating action, as opposed to the "a couple of cases, it will disappear by the weekend" parody of a policy, the U.S. would likely be in much better shape.  Hell, if it wasn't an election year, or if polls showed him performing reasonably well, that may have happened.

The fact is, though, that the decision was made to ignore, dismiss, trivialize, and ultimately fire up his base with the "You're an American, don't let the government tell you what to do" rhetoric.  Conservative state officials who have learned that opposing Trump could cost you your job got on board, and that was all she wrote.  People sans masks gathering in large groups to protest mask-wearing?  Good God.

Just once, I'd like to hear the "If you're a young, healthy person, you'll be fine" crowd acknowledge the risk of assymptomatic transmission to someone who is not young or healthy.  I'd like to hear someone cogently explain that  not dying = fine.  I think the risk of myocarditis and long-term compromised lung health have been way under-reported.  And if, as currently suspected, post-infection immunity is temporary, we are royally f@cked unless and until a vaccine is available.

As a human, a person has the right to risk their life and well-being for any reason he or she may choose.  I don't think anybody would dispute that.  One could make the argument that they have the right to risk their families lives, if he or she feels that it is the right thing to do.  One unquestionably does not have the right to risk my family's lives for the sake of his or her agenda, and this is precisely what the non-mask wearing, non-social distancing, anti-remote schooling, Corona-is-a-hoax crowd is doing.

I've been dancing along the politics line a little bit, so I'll refrain from further comment on this thread.  It is funny how what some people would call common sense is seen as political statement in the present.  But that's a different, much longer, non-football related conversation.

88 I think you made a lot of…

I think you made a lot of good points.


"I think the risk of myocarditis and long-term compromised lung health have been way under-reported. "

I think it has been reported a bunch.  But the part that hasn't been reported is the frequency with which these non-death negative outcomes are happening.  I have no clue the magnitude of them.  For that matter, I'm not even sure what the hospitilization rate is.

90 The first place I saw…

The first place I saw myocarditis reported was ESPN. And it's not like I wasn't actively looking for information, either: I've seen the link to Kawasaki disease in kids more than I've seen the myocarditis info.

87 It's really unfortunate that…

It's really unfortunate that handling a pandemic became a political issue, with most people lining up to the extreme on one side or another.  As opposed to using science and logic to figure out the best way to handle this. 


I feel like there could have been a solution somewhere between Sweden (let 'er rip) and China (lock everybody in their apartments) that would have been successful AND let society proceed in a somewhat normal way.

21 I'm not sure the U.S. could…

I'm not sure the U.S. could have done much more in terms of individual measures, however that list was never implemented as a strategy.  Unless no-one had died, someone would always have criticised the response because of the nature of US politics.

However there has been a lack of genuine leadership.  The White House press briefings have been a joke.  Walking out when asked difficult questions. Drinking bleach and shining UV light up your ass.

Trump spent the first 2-3 months of the pandemic denying that it would be an issue. Then claiming it would be over by September.  He didn't take it seriously or cast an expectation that the people take it seriously.

Remember he originally was against masks and has only been seen wearing in the last few weeks.

Probably the only thing he did right was to ban flights from China and it's hard to see that as a deliberated policy decision rather than a kneejerk reaction against another enemy.

(PS I'm a Brit so I don't have a dog in this race.  I've had to put up with equally scattergun leadership from BoJo)

32 Tell me about it, I'm in…

Tell me about it, I'm in Mexico. Our strongest measures have been amulets and purity of heart. I mean, I am pure of heart, so I feel pretty safe, but what about all the other poor souls who aren't...?

In chess there's a saying, "a bad strategy is better than no strategy at all". Too bad so many world leaders can't seem to get a handle on that.

26 It's sort of interesting. I…

It's sort of interesting. I'm not sure a different policy direction would have mattered. The places that are "doing well" are doing so essentially on the basis of remaining in hiding. Universities in France and Japan are no more open than they are here; arguably less so. The Olympics were cancelled. Nothing that involves opening has occurred, so getting case counts low enough to open seems immaterial. Case counts aren't driving policy elsewhere.

48 Case counts are definitely…

Case counts are definitely relevant to this conversation, though. Events requiring overseas travel like the Olympics have been cancelled, but the rollout of professional team sports has been a lot more successful so far in places like Europe and east Asia where infections have been kept low. The outlook for sports for the rest of 2020 and '21 looks better in those places right now too.

I don't know how significant having sports on TV really is to the economy as a whole and where it even fits into larger conversations about how we are dealing with COVID, but the situation with sports has been getting a lot of attention and it's clearly something that matters to a lot of people. Or maybe being a huge sports fan skews my perception too much.

(The persistence of "amateurism" in college sports is obviously a massive complicating factor that would still make the situation with college football really difficult no matter what.)

54 New Zealand shut down the…

New Zealand shut down the entire country for about one month. Everyone stayed at home. They have not had a single new case of COVID-19 in more than 100 days. 

Sometimes strong measures are in order. The problem with Americans is that they are too undisciplined to do the right thing, and obsessed with money over quality of life. Hell, here in Arizona we can't get people stop running red lights.

It sure didn't help that certain leaders dismissed the pandemic as a political hoax, and so many people gobbled up that crap.

81 The key point is that people…

The key point is that they shut down in-country transmission completely: people stayed home, the political leadership followed medical guidelines, and the populace didn't shout "you can't make us wear masks, like in Communist China!"  They didn't reopen too early like some of our poorly-run states did. Closing the border was only one factor.

I think it's also debatable that the US has the world's most porous border. We just don't know very much about the rest of the world, only what we hear on our parochial TV news system. Hell, we were probably spreading the virus to Mexico and the Caribbean via hordes of spring breakers, rather than the other way around.

84 The US has more illegal…

The US has more illegal immigrants than half the nations have total people.

It takes in more people per year than Europe. 

you basically can’t transit the Western Hemisphere without crossing it. 

it’s a cheesecloth border.

86 "The US has more illegal…

"The US has more illegal immigrants than half the nations have total people."

This is a silly statistic. The US has more *people* than far more than half the nations have people. It also has more area than far more than half the nations have area. Your point's not crazy, obviously, but that's an impressively terrible statistic to demonstrate it.

Your previous post also implied that it would somehow be hard or impossible for the US to close its borders, whereas it was easy for New Zealand. You're partly right, in that it would've been harder *economically*.

But it's not impossible. We've done it before. We essentially shut down the borders after 9/11 (even though we didn't "officially" do it, there's no real difference between inspecting every single car that passes and forcing tests/quarantine).

The *vast* majority of people entering the country enter it *legally*. Like, vast-vast. I need a word bigger than 'vast'. Remember, we're talking about *people*, not immigrants. The virus doesn't care if someone's only staying legally. 80 million people visit the US each year. 70K remain illegally. Only around half of those enter the country illegally.

In other words, if the US closed its legal borders, it would've shut off 99.96% of the total traffic to the US. You're welcome to your point regarding immigration and your argument there holds some water, but the idea that the US couldn't've shut itself off is just crazy. Of course it could've. It just didn't want to.

92 New Zealand can hide from…

New Zealand can hide from the world by closing one airport and one seaport. Those two things instantly cut off 90% of their international traffic, and the other ports basically only go to eastern Australia, which is trivial to handle.

Now try to close the US border. 2/3rds of it is completely undefended, and practically unpatrolled. The US has the 3rd most incoming tourists. The 3rd most outgoing. It has the highest net migration (The 2nd place nation is closer to last than it is to the US -- the US takes in more than #s 2-4 combined). As far as these things are tracked, it has the most extralegal migration. US airports top lists in terms in international travelers. US borders top transit count lists, etc. The US is at the top of essentially every international travel stat. It's a hideously difficult border to close.

And the count matters here, because count is what you are trying to reduce; ratios matter little. One entry can cause a pandemic, regardless of national population. You can't compare the most connected nation on Earth to the least. (Well, 2nd, after the Sentinelese)

96 "2/3rds of it is completely…

"2/3rds of it is completely undefended, and practically unpatrolled."

And completely and totally unimportant for virus transmission statistics, so let's leave the politics out of this. This represents something like 0.03% of the traffic into the US. There's no reason to mention the physical borders anymore, okay? The reason they're unpatrolled is that they're in relatively unpopulated areas, and it takes significant time to physically cross the border anyway.

Seriously, it's like you're saying because a pipe is dripping a drop every few minutes we shouldn't bother to shut off a tub faucet.

" It's a hideously difficult border to close."

And yet, we've effectively done it before! It's not difficult to close. You just say "no planes." Would it cause problems and headaches? Yes! Absolutely. Which is why we don't do it often. The federal government didn't think it was necessary to cut traffic and cause all of those headaches in the beginning. It's difficult to say whether or not they were wrong, but saying they couldn't have done it is just wrong. Of course they *could* have done it. They just chose not to.

I'm not judging the decision because it's pointless, you can't replay the thing. Yes, it was *easier* for New Zealand to shut off their borders because it affected fewer people.

Do I think that not shutting down the borders *then* was a good decision? I don't know. They kinda reacted half-assed, cutting off countries as they had cases, which is pretty stupid. Once it becomes clear things are spiraling, half-measures are the same thing as no action.

"And the count matters here, because count is what you are trying to reduce; ratios matter little. One entry can cause a pandemic, regardless of national population."

No. Absolutely not. It's the ratio of the incoming cases versus the ability of the local disease control to contact trace and isolate.

One entry into a quarantine area cannot cause an uncontrollable pandemic unless the local health infrastructure is a total failure. The virus did not come into this country on one person. This isn't a TV show.

New Zealand's an example of that - the exact thing we're talking about did cause a small outbreak, but it's being controlled with heavy contact tracing. It's a novel virus. It doesn't "live" in the wild. "Unknown community spread" just means "its growth is exceeding our ability to contact trace."

83 Welp, never mind- 4 more…

Oops, never mind- 4 more cases, and they're back to martial law:


85 I don't know why people…

I don't know why people insist on co-opting terms for situations they don't agree with. "Martial law" doesn't mean "government rules/laws that restrict freedom or movement." It doesn't even mean "government declaring an emergency and suspending normal lawmaking procedures." If that were true, you could argue the US has been under martial law for years now.

It means "rule by the military." Which is why it uses 'martial', meaning military, as in, from Latin - Mars, god of war, that whole thing.

People don't go throwing around "it's martial law!" every time counties declare a snow emergency.

95 Regardless of semantics, we…

Regardless of semantics, we don’t think the New Zealand approach is terribly sustainable, do we? They (and other regions) rightly received praise for their initial vigilance and decisive action, whilst others dawdled. But unless a vaccine is right around the corner, they can’t just keep hiding from the virus forever? 

It at least feels like the additional data collected and knowledge gained since the initial outbreaks could be put to use informing more nuanced policy than the blunt lockdowns that have already caused vast economic damage, and untold 2nd/3rd order effects. There’s also the public fatigue element; even the most compliant and good-willing populations, when not faced with an immediate threat, will soon get fed up and stop listening (unless they can be brute forced). There’ll be a backlash at some stage. I don’t pretend to know the right answer, but I’m not sure this is it. 

97 "If you are suspending…

"If you are suspending habeus corpus, you are using war-time powers to do so"

Read revised codes closer. All the states I've ever lived in have delegated to the health department the ability to quarantine/isolate in the case of a medical emergency.

The people who wrote our laws had to deal with this stuff waaay more than we do.

91 It absolutely was when I…

It absolutely was when I lived in Phoenix metro, 1998-2004.  If you were the first car at a red light, you'd usually have to wait a full two seconds after the light turned green before you could safely proceed.  They talked about trying to remedy the problem by having the green light delayed, resulting in an "all stop" situation for a second or two, but I don't recall if they ever did.

Parts of Miami seem to suffer from the same problem.

58 It seems like the science…

It seems like the science strongly points to the effectiveness of mask wearing. If we had mandatory masks in public we could reduce transmissions dramatically and then contract tracing and testing would be useful to suppress any outbreaks. If political leaders would hammer home how many lives could be saved by wearing a mask it might work. After all we all respect "no shirt no shoes no service" and that prevents 10`s (?) of deaths


66 "I don't understand the…

"I don't understand the criticisms of the US COVID policy."

The problem with the US COVID policy is that nowhere near enough people followed the recommendations.

This is measurable. US mobility only dropped for about 2 weeks. By 1 month later it was practically back to where it was. And this includes places where there's no need for it to have recovered. People do not have to go to the supermarket every day, for instance, and there would be negligible effect on the economy or their lives to do so. You'd just have larger trips less often.

All of the side effects you listed (shutting down the economy, bankrupting bars and restaurants, unemployment, etc.) - none of those are *actual* side effects of reducing mobility. They're side effects of either the virus itself, or the way that people responded to that reduced mobility. And most of that is because of the extremely poor information spread from the federal government. 

For instance, several meat packing plants shut down because the virus was spreading rapidly through them. The government wasn't the cause of the shutdown - the virus was. Eventually workers never would've been willing to work anyway.

In the same way, if I stay at home instead of going to the bar because I'm worried about the virus, is the government responsible for the lost business? No. The virus is. If the government says "you really should stay at home," are they responsible? No - again, the virus is the one dictating things.

The only time you could actually blame the government is when they closed restaurants/bars: but even then, you can't blame them for the total loss of revenue. Their revenue already would've been massively decreased due to the virus.

"I can't imagine what harsher measures could have been taken,"

Read about the situation in several countries in Europe, then.

Really, the big problem, though, is that the US response was basically... not a response. Think about what they *could've* done. They *could've* passed a temporary law requiring that movies shifted to streaming must distribute their income back to theater owners, who must distribute that income to employees as well. They *could've* passed a law requiring the increased income that supermarket owners received must be redistributed to restaurant/bar owners. (Both of which would've just been implemented as a temporary tax and a dividend system, or some such).

Let me put it this way: you're complaining that bars and restaurants are being hit super hard. Why aren't you complaining that restaurants and streaming media companies are getting a windfall? Or any other of the industries that have seen *massive* increased demand?

All of these issues could've been mitigated by the government. They weren't.

"All this for a virus that poses infinitessimal risk to the non-senior/obese/terminally ill population. Oy vey."

It's a virus. It literally rewrites the genetic code in your body to produce more of itself. You have *zero* knowledge of the long-term risk that the virus presents. All we currently know is that it kills certain people, and it's super-easy to transmit. It is not a bacterium or parasite, where it's relatively easy to understand what it's doing.

If you're willing to take that risk so blindly, I've got a couple of sketchy-looking URLs promising Big Money you can click on.

69 US mobility only dropped for…

US mobility only dropped for about 2 weeks. By 1 month later it was practically back to where it was.

This does not match what I've seen on the interstates.

A month into the lockdown, I drove through downtown Philadelphia, at rush hour, at 75 mph. That's at least one order of magnitude higher than expected, and probably two.

Things have recovered somewhat, but only somewhat. Rush hour traffic now resembles 2 pm on a Tuesday instead of Mad Max in the Exclusion Zone, like it did in April.

As for those laws -- you could pass them. None of them would survive long enough to reach enforcement though, because every one you listed is an illegal taking without compensation or due process. Not even Kelo would bless those.

71 "This does not match what I…

"This does not match what I've seen on the interstates."

Yet it does match what every mobility measurement shows. Google publishes them, and there are plenty of other ones available as well. Anecdotes are fun, but they aren't a good substitute for real data.

"As for those laws -- you could pass them. None of them would survive long enough to reach enforcement though, because every one you listed is an illegal taking without compensation or due process. Not even Kelo would bless those."

The 16th Amendment disagrees with you.

See, this is what people don't understand about politics and the law. What something *effectively* does is not the same as what we *call* it. Governments can tax whatever they want, and they can do whatever they want with the revenue, as well. Fining people for not having health insurance isn't legal. But taxing *everybody* and crediting the tax for those who do have it is perfectly fine. The two laws are perfectly identical in effect, but not in name.

Some states tax clothing. Some states tax food. Some states tax only eat-in food. Enacting a sales tax on all food purchases and automatically crediting it to businesses based on unused seating capacity, where seating capacity was established at a certain date, for instance. Perfectly legal.

Really, though: the current administration enacted random tariffs with virtually no notice (and with little reasoning) and essentially all of those stuck, and you think an emergency measure to assist failing businesses wouldn't?

75 States have a more wide…

States have a more wide-ranging tax authority than the federal government, but what you wanted was a federal solution. There's a way to do most things, eventually. They are harder to executive in the short-term, given we're not actually under martial law and the courts still have a say.

(Indeed, it's unclear whether the courts would allow martial law to be enacted; we are not under invasion)

As for the other, we know what private spy agencies are willing to tell us based on what's purportedly their phone tracking data. Given that's a complete black box, I'm still willing to believe my lying eyes.

77 The federal government's got…

The federal government's got plenty of authority to tax, and really the only way the courts would get involved is if it was executive action. If it was a law there'd be very little grounds to stand on. The excise tax authority in the constitution says "for the general welfare" and it'd be hard for someone to argue with a straight face that ensuring millions of Americans don't go hungry and homeless while others grow rich due to a global pandemic isn't "for the general welfare."

8 I've dealt with this…

I've dealt with this uncertainty as part of my role as an officer with an adult amateur rugby club in the Midwest. It's easy to say why didn't you plan better but in my anecdote we were required to react to items out of our control, like the actions and guidelines dictated by state governments as well as national and regional rugby union guidelines while they were not wanting to be heavy-handed and dictatorial to teams of "you will not play". This past week we just canceled our fall season due to acknowledgement that we would not be allowed to leave our state to play sanctioned matches, if we go unsanctioned the insurance won't cover injuries, and we were going to have hardly anyone to play against that could give us a full roster match.

10 I think these leagues knew…

I think these leagues knew things were bleak but were hoping(in June), that things would abate amidst the three month mandated shelter in place + the new social distancing policies. If the virus had been contained to roughly three states say and maybe just to some predictable segments of the population, they could have pivoted to a strategy at that time. Once it became clear the situation was terrible on the ground, they were left with nothing but optics at that point.

I am not sure what the NFL can do besides postpone and hope things get better in October. If they were to move everyone to a military barracks in say the deserts of Arizona or New Mexico and restrict all vehicle access; then maybe a sports league on the scale of the NFL could make it work. Short of that, its not possible imo. The NFL is the hardest league to actually make work imo. 

68 Both the NBA and NHL have…

Both the NBA and NHL have managed to make it work with great success in bubbles. The NBA bubble's got something like ~1000 people in it.

Do 8 of them, with division pairs, like (AFC+NFC East), for instance. Those bubbles actually consist of 10/16 of the season, and that gets you to what, mid-November? Which gives quite a bit of time to figure out what to do.


9 Longer term, I think a…

Longer term, I think a handful of athletics programs will collapse and we're going to see a ton of non-revenue sports teams cut. There's also the highly negative impact to college towns. Leaving aside the bigger college football towns are losing 7 to 8 huge tourism weekends, if there's no students on campus, these towns' economic viability is wrecked.

13 You may see a football…

You may see a football bloodbath in the FCS and Div-II ranks. Due to Title IX, a college needs to carry something like 10 female-only non-revenue sports to offset the profitable football team. This is doable if football is a revenue monster, like it is at the FBS level, or is purely non-scholarship like in Div-III.

This is why men's volleyball (indoor and beach) and field hockey are essentially not a thing, and why fencing and crew are much better represented as women's sports. 56% of NCAA athletes are male, but only 46% of teams. Football has a large number of players.

But if football isn't profitable, it's easy to cut. A lot of school make empty words about safety, but it's really about scholarship dollars.

17 There's been a mad rush at…

There's been a mad rush at the Division III level the past decade to start football teams because the colleges there, typically small town private liberal arts schools, see it as a way to boost their male enrollment rates. In fact, remove sports from Division III-level schools and quite a number might just close their doors due to lack of students.

They're not going to kill the cash cow at the top level. So football will remain because it's something that has demonstrated it will make money. But you may see this continued hollowing out of everything underneath. Stanford already shuttered 11 sports and the Olympic program kind of relies on programs like Stanford to put out medal winners.

12 It's a complicated situation…

It's a complicated situation and it feels like we could have avoided this by planning a lot better for the last six months.

In other news, the future continues to wonder why the present wasn't obvious to the past. Hindsight remains 20/20.

34 Yeah, epidemiologists have…

Yeah, epidemiologists have been warning about a scenario like this for years. Bill Gates, too. But present sacrifices for future rewards remains something that politicians have very little interest in.

14 I'm curious if some suitably…

I'm curious if some suitably remote and interested school like Boise might play an extremely local schedule (Idaho, Eastern Washington, maybe the Nuevo Mexico teams), go 4-0, and claim the AP national title.

15 What are the thoughts on the…

What are the thoughts on the TV viewing experience of other Coronasports? I think team sports lose most of their luster without a rabid home crowd. I haven't seen a single second of the NHL, but the 1 minute of NBA I watched felt like a scrimmage rather than a critical, late-season, playoff-seeding showdown. With regards to the MLB, watching my Twins win on a silent walkoff felt pretty hollow, and the cardboard cutouts behind home plate are... unworthy of further comment.

In my opinion, the one sport that hasn't suffered a huge dropoff with the loss of fans is golf. Yes, I miss the back-nine roars, but the lack of galleries isn't a deal-breaker, and the quality of play since the June return has been outstanding, particularly yesterday.

I fear that fanless NFL games will be but a shadow of their normal selves.

16 Hockey is not much different…

Hockey is not much different. The Leafs already choked, so clearly the feeling is authentic.

I didn't notice much of a change in MLS. Even the Premier League stuff felt normalish.

The NBA has a pre-season / Olympic qualifiers feel.

Baseball is reduced some, but frankly, mid-summer baseball is usually pretty lazy and passive.



25 Other than the Penguins…

Other than the Penguins lying down, most of the NHL play-in teams have played pretty hard.  I've only watched highlights, but what I saw from the Oilers-Blackhawks series showed both of them going at it, and the favored OIlers only losing because they're top-heavy and don't have a good defense.  Even the Leafs-Blue Jackets footage looked good, with two miracle comebacks from both teams.  The Bruins seem to be laying an egg, but we'll see when the real playoffs start.


Of course, hockey is lucky in that they get to play in Canada.

57 Wpg Jets...

Yeah, I live in Winnipeg and the Jets came out playing like they'd warm up to playing again. Calgary dominated them. It was odd though because there were spurts of playing hard, like Wheelers fight, or Poolmans blocked shot (with his face).

You cannot coast in Hockey or you'll get lit up like a safety hitting a wr over the middle (pre-safety emphasis).

19 It's about time this…

It's about time this happened.  It would have been immoral for schools and coaches making millions to try to force/guilt their unpaid laborers into playing.

Of course, it's not that the NCAA and the schools discovered a sense of morality.  Far from it.  I think Joe Nocera has it absolutely right:
Here’s the real reason the P5 will cancel football: it destroys the amateurism excuse that has given college sports free labor for a century. If games are played during a pandemic—even as campuses are empty—it will be impossible to argue that they are not employees.


20 Pretty much, although I…

Pretty much, although I think the days of free labor are slowly coming to an end. 


I am with Will, we need to stop the farce that is allowing a sports entertainment business to be wrapped around our education system. 

23 I hope the European soccer…

I hope the European soccer club system becomes the norm for America. In an ideal world, talented kids would be playing for clubs, rather than universities, and the days of the Johnny Footballs of the world earning $billions for their schools, while getting censured for accepting a steak dinner, would be over.

This story still blows my mind: https://cbs4local.com/sports/sports-headlines/tiger-woods-tells-stephen-colbert-how-dinner-with-arnold-palmer-almost-kept-him-out-of-el

30 Hey, not all of them- only…

Hey, not all of them- only the ones that can run fast and catch good!

More seriously, though there's always a risk with pushing children too hard to succeed in competitive endeavors, I don't think kids who grew up playing peewee hockey end up too badly afterwards, right?

37 A system designed towards…

A system designed towards removing kids from their families and stashing them with fosters half a continent away has about as many pedophilic sex scandals as you'd expect.

40 There's no perfect system…

There's no perfect system. Becoming an elite athlete has its perils no matter what. David Foster Wallace said it best:

"But it's better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing. Oh, we'll invoke lush clichés about the lonely heroism of Olympic athletes, the pain and analgesia of football, the early rising and hours of practice and restricted diets, the preflight celibacy, et cetera. But the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one's mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think.  Note the way "up close and personal" profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of a rounded human life–outside interests and activities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what's obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It's farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one area of excellence. An ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to live in a world that, like a child's world, is very small."

43 The European club model won…

The European club model won't work for the NFL because they prefer letting colleges take the financial hit of developing kids. Heck, they won't even pay for a minor league system to further develop draft picks.

44 Will never happen because…

Will never happen because there's no way for the club to recoup their money unless they get agent rights. This happens some with AAU basketball, but even with the AAU system and European basketball, players still choose NCAA ball.

I personally would prefer for my alma mater to just disband the football team. If people want to have intercollegiate football, great, go start a club team and fund it yourselves. 

45 If people want to have…

If people want to have intercollegiate football, great, go start a club team and fund it yourselves. 

We have an NCAA in the first place because schools wanted to take control back from their football clubs.

51 https://en.m.wikipedia.org…


I think the mainstreaming of club sports is coming. If college sports enter a major recession, the bottom end of varsity sports will need it to occur for their own competitive livelihoods.

78 But in WW2 that would have…

But in WW2 that would have been covered under "war effort" - specifically 'maintaining home front morale' -  and so no one would have questioned any seemingly out of place stuff going on.  These days,  none of that applies so the universities do have to be mindful of fatally undermining the amateurism excuse.

31 Christian Ponder Super Bowl Project Update

Hope Will can see this here.  So I finished another season with Ponder, and the Vikings' record fell to 14-2.  We played 4 games at the rookie level (2 against the Packers, just because), 5 at the All-Madden level (lost to Detroit by 7, got destroyed by Kansas City in the last meaningless game where I played all back-ups, except EJ Henderson who proceeded to get injured for the playoffs, and won three other games, all close), and 7 games at the regular All-Pro level (beat Chicago 108-7 at this level, really weird result).  Peterson had a down year as far as rushing, with only f2,282 yards (he did miss 2 games due to injury).  Brian Robison had his usual 30 sacks, with Jared Allen getting 17.  Free agent pick-up Mike Jenkins led the league with 9 interceptions, rookie Jermaine Daniels had 8 and Harrison Smith had 7. (Rookies are just made-up characters).  Jerome Simpson lead the team with 110 receptions for 2,131 yards; Percy Harvin had 93 for 1,886 yards.  Peterson was 3rd on the team with 88 receptions for 1,232 yards.  Teams just didn't cover him that much; perhaps that's why he won the Offensive Player of the Year award and MVP, over Ponder.  Now for Christian Ponder's stats: He improved his TD/Int ratio from about 40/40 to 75/33, while completing 68% of his passes for 7,055 yards.  And yet he didn't win MVP.

38 Christian Ponder Super Bowl Project Update pt 2: playoffs

So the Vikings got a bye, even with the bad loss at season's end (55-33 to KC).  The 8-8 Saints ended up winning in the wildcard round, so Drew Brees and Sean Payton came to town.  I played this game at the All-Madden level, like the playoffs last year.  Unlike last year, the upstart wild card winner never had a chance; Vikings won 45-17.  Ponder did have 2 interceptions but still had 314 yards, but Peterson was the real star with 165 yards and 3 Tds.

On to the Conference Championship: the 10-6 Bears knocked off the 2 seed Seahawks (12-3-1), and so Ponder and the Vikings had to try to sweep the season series 3-0.  This game was a lot tougher than the earlier ones.  Aside from the 108-7 blowout, I beat the Bears on the road 35-28 in an All-Madden game.  In this All-Madden match-up I was outgained 505-487, and turnovers were even, with one apiece.  The Bears had an early 10-0 lead but we stormed back to take a 21-16 lead at halftime.  We had an 11 point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, but gave up a field goal, and then Ponder fumbled while running for a key first down.  Cutler lead them down the field for a touchdown and the tying 2-point conversion.  Ponder started the next drive with under 2 minutes left; he threw the winning touchdown to Jerome Simpson with 6 seconds left.  Ponder threw for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns in the victory.  So we're heading to the Super Bowl with Ponder, Blair Walsh (yes, he's still on the team even though I only use him for extra points), and the rest of the gang.  We are facing the 9-7 Steelers who pulled off consecutive upsets of the Colts and Bills to make it there.  They have a rating of 87 to my 81, so it should be pretty hard to win this one.  Especially since it's being played in the Meadowlands, and you would think the team that usually plays outdoors would have an advantage.

49 Christian Ponder Super Bowl Project Update pt 3: Super Bowl

Rejoice! Ponder and the Vikings have won! Wasn't even close, 56-27.  Ponder didn't have the best game (4 Tds, 2 Ints), but did better than Big Ben (53%, 2 Tds, 3 Ints).  Peterson was the MVP, with 312 rushing yards to go with 126 receiving yards, accounting for 7 touchdowns.  One of those TDs came on a 92 yard run right after an interception in the red zone.  Imaginary player Lamar Dample had 198 yards on 19 carries (All-Madden is absurd when it comes to opposing player's rushing and breaking tackle abilities).  Robison had 4 sacks, which helped a lot.  Rookie Jermaine Daniels had 2 interceptions, but safety Mistral Raymond had the aforementioned pick in the red zone, which was huge.  Blair Walsh hit all 8 of his extra points.

So I can go back to doing something worthwhile in my life, right?

47 How to _really_ do it properly...

If anyone here has been following the current international cricket going on in England, they have really gone all-out with making a bio-bubble for the teams. Even the radio and TV commentators have to follow the rules. Everyone from both teams lives in hotel that is built into the grounds (which limited the ground selection to just two grounds rather than normal going around the country to 6-8 grounds). One player on the journey from one ground to the other stopped off to see his family - he was fined and had to spend five days in quarantine and be tested multiple times. The England captain (with agreement from management of both teams) left the bubble to be at his wife's side for the birth of their (I think) second child, and so had to miss the first match as he was not back through the quarantine procedure before it the match started. It seems to be possible to run something pretty securely (unlike Scottish association football, where players from one team went out on the town and got caught up in outbreak - given they broke all the rules and guidelines from the league I'm quite surprised the team isn't being made to forfeit the missed games. rather than rearrange them later in the season).

The question for the NFL teams and players is whether they can put themselves through proper isolation procedures. The biggest problem I can see is the poor referees - if they were fully paid NFL employees then they could be mandated to go through similar procedures to the players (and hopefully be paid extra expenses etc as well). Trying to pick from local pools of officials is a start, and may help a bit, but teams can travel on private planes and greatly limit contact with anyone else, I'm not sure part-time officials can do this in any sane way.

Everyone should also be isolating from everyone but their immediate households and teammates. Not sure how many people will find that easy. Of course there probably _has_ to be some football this year, if not then something very strange indeed might be about to happen to the salary cap next year... (unless the NFL and NFLPA can continue to actually talk to each other and work out some emergency re-write to the salary cap formula).

College sports is doomed this season, I suspect. I work at a University in the UK and the official number of cases needed on campus, at any one time, to cause an emergency lockdown during the next academic year is 2. Given the infectious nature of the virus, and the widely different ranges of symptoms, I'd be pleasantly surprised if dozens of university campuses don't get locked down for a few weeks here of there over the next academic year, and that's without bussing hundreds of athletes around as well.

Hopefully enough sanity will prevail and enough of us will be continue to alter our behaviour to stay safe and reduce infection rates so the vital things that keep us all going can still be done. That will make it easier for doctors to continue to improve treatment, other people to develop vaccines, and hopefully things to return to kind of new normal at least in the next 12-18 months. If the NFL and all its players and ancillary folks manage to put on some entertainment for us, that's a bonus. It is possible to make playing professional sports safe enough to be likely safer than going to the do the shopping on a busy evening, but it will be hard, and even then with the number of people needed to keep NFL teams going it wouldn't be a surprise if at least one team has issues at some point during the season, and I don't think they are going to be able to agree on the all-out bio-bubble arrangement that has helped international cricket go ahead.

60 you sound like

You sound like the NBA players in 1992 who were ignorant of HIVAIDS.  We know so much more about this disease than we did in March, and it is much less harmful to athletes than even the flu.  We need to put in protections for vulnerable groups and get on the field.  

61 We've already had several…

In reply to by Jetspete

We've already had several professional athletes whose seasons, and possibly careers, have come to an end because of COVID-19. When was the last time an athlete had a season-ending bout of the flu?

72 Sorry, but athletes are…

In reply to by Jetspete

Sorry, but athletes are sadly not immune. We know vastly more than we did, and one of the scariest things coming out is the amount of long term side effect, especially involving inflammation damage and blood clots (young, healthy, people catching the disease seriously are having strokes and embolisms afterwards - not in huge numbers, but in statistically significant numbers over the population). Various NFL players have had blood clot  problems, as did Serena Williams, without any known viral cause. There also seems to be a statistically significant number of people who have minimal initial symptoms (light cold or even nothing much) but seem to develop post-viral fatigue and similar problems to Epstein Barr. To claim that athletes are likely to be broadly immune is dangerously wrong.

I work in biochemistry research and suffered myself from an unexpected blood clot (I don’t smoke, barely drink, and played regular sports and cycled for my transport) last summer that nearly killed me, so I’ve been following the side effects and treatments issues with great interest from an early stage, I was also “locked down” two weeks before the government mandated it in the UK due to being advised to after an urgent hospital trip caused by side effects of the pulmonary embolisms I’m recovering from. I wish I could honestly claim that the current epidemic was really harmless to the vast majority of people, but there is ever increasing evidence that this is a dangerous attitude and the long term effects on otherwise healthy people can be worse than realised. Doctors are getting vastly better at treating it, the realisation that CPAP machines are actually better than ventilators in the vast majority of cases, for example, and certain steroids and blood thinners are showing useful therapeutic effects whilst we wait for a vaccine.

I’ve no political axe to grind here, but I personally know some researchers (including a group who were working 24/7 shifts to do structural biology on the virus in the early weeks) and doctors (including a consultant anaesthetist who delayed his retirement due to his expertise in respiratory support) and I desperately wish I could be more reassuring, but the people I know at the sharp end are still preaching caution. I hope everyone stays safe and wish everyone luck. 

79 "To claim that athletes are…

"To claim that athletes are likely to be broadly immune is dangerously wrong."

Definitely true. It's also worth noting that we've kindof got a cultural/biological bias to believe that high-end athletes are extremely healthy and resilient, and that's not true at all. The idea of "professional athletes die younger" isn't exactly true ( they tend to live longer than an *average* person) but they're definitely not a cohort with the longest lifespan in society, for instance.

The other issue is that we tend to believe that once we don't die from the acute portion of a disease, it's over, and our body has "won" versus the infection, and you're back to normal. But that's only because at this point, we're used to seasonal/endemic infections where really, both the disease and our biology have evolved basically to a steady-state.

Those who think that "mortality's super low! most people aren't at risk!" should remember that they might've thought exactly the same thing about polio. I have *no* idea why people are willing to risk having their DNA randomly rewritten because "it probably won't kill me right away."

67 What will be the impact of…

What will be the impact of the loss of season upon the pro careers of current college players, especially seniors? Though I'm sure players will maintain good workout regimens, I would bet next year's draft class will suffer a marked overall decline in skill, fitness, readiness, football savvy, etc., which could harm their pro careers. What steps can they take to make themselves more pro-ready, in the absence of games? Will teams continue to practice & scrimmage together, internally?