Schwartz: Ten Sentences – Smelling Like Spring Edition

August 9, 2020

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

The chances of college football happening this fall appear dim. The situation is evolving quickly. Ten sentences to set the moment:

1. This Sunday’s Ten Sentences was supposed to be about Iowa’s new 2020 football schedule, an all-Big Ten slate that consists of just 10 games, but the situation is so fluid right now that by the time I get to the sixth sentence our reality might have changed another two or three times.

2. I don’t think I’m the only one who will be pleasantly surprised if college football happens this fall; every relevant social force is pushing against the likelihood of us being able to watch the Hawkeyes, and it has become clear that whatever hope we once had was hope for hope’s sake.

3. On Saturday the Mid-American Conference, the college football equivalent of a mid-major, postponed their 2020 season to the spring, and although that made headlines, it’s largely irrelevant to Iowa’s situations.

4. When the Big Ten and the other power conferences decided to play almost all in-conference games only, it crushed the MAC, costing them potentially tens of millions in revenue; the Hawkeyes and other power-conference schools to not occupy the same space as MAC schools.

5. Despite that, sooner rather than later the Big Ten—and therefore Iowa—is going to follow the MAC’s move to spring, a moment in time when even the most attentive of our country’s COVID experts are cautiously optimistic a vaccine will exist (and, we hope, available).

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6. If the MAC is one false comparison to Iowa and the Big Ten, then the NBA and NHL, both of which appear to be enjoying COVID-free success as their seasons continue within social “bubbles,” are another.

7. Unless the NCAA finally wants to admit that they don’t really care how well their students perform academically so long as the money keeps rolling in, college football players cannot be put into a bubble because they have to go to class (with classmates who aren’t being tested for the virus), live in dorms and apartments (with classmates who aren’t being tested for the virus), and studying in tutoring centers and libraries (with classmates who aren’t being tested for the virus).

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8. A better comparison to what might happen to college football if they try to compete this fall is what’s happening with Major League Baseball, which has already seen two franchises (Miami and St. Louis) flooded with the virus but marches on, determined to make it through its abbreviated season.

9. For those of us who desperately want college football this season no matter what the cost to the athletes, coaches, and staff, perhaps MLB can be our inspiration—proof that even if the worst-case scenario happens, we can ignore and keep marching forward, consequences be damned; at this point MLB is like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” getting its limbs chopped off but refusing to stop battling.

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10. The Big Ten is the bravest, most forward-thinking of the power football conferences, so if they decide to push it to spring, it’s a good bet the rest of college football will follow their lead, which means it’s worth asking: do they have any other choice?

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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