TuaMania Already Running Wild in Miami

Christopher Walsh

This will come as absolutely no shock to anyone at Alabama, but former Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is already huge in Miami. 

He's wearing No. 1 for the Dolphins. Fans already think of him as the next Dan Marino. Tagovailoa is already racking up major endorsement deals without having thrown a single pass for his new team. 

Even Ryan Fitzpatrick, who knows it's only a matter of time before Tagovailoa takes over as Miami's starting quarterback job, said they hit it off. 

“He’s a really interesting guy. He’s got a lot of energy to him. And you can tell guys are going to gravitate to him,” Fitzpatrick told Dolphins reporters on Saturday. 

“There’s something about him that is just very likeable. I can already tell that he’s going to be one of those guys that gets along with everybody, that guys are going to want to follow. He just has that kind of aura about him. And part of it is the way that he played in college, and just the name and reputation he’s built for himself.

“But there’s not a lot of ego involved. He’s very likeable so I don’t know. The general conversations, whether about football or life, they’ve been really fun so far.”

Alain Poupart of AllDolphins wrote about how Fitzpatrick is the prefect placeholder for Tagovailoa, and the rookie quarterback opened up to Sports Illustrated about the business side of football.

Regardless, Tua-mania is already running rampant in South Florida.  

Fans are already following the 22-year-old's every move. They freaked out when seeing video of him reporting for camp with what looked like his arm in a sling (it was just due to the bag he was holding), and celebrated when Tagovailoa was formally cleared to practice for the first time since injuring his hip last November. 

They even liked that Tagovailoa sent out a tweet to the other Crimson Tide athletes graduating this weekend. 

That's just who he is. 

They're going to have a lot fun getting used to him, though. 

College Football Chaos

When the SEC announced its conference-only football schedule on Thursday, there was some excitement, and optimism about college football playing in the fall because at least there was finally a plan in the works.

However, the emotional pendulum quickly started to swing back.  

The Washington Post obtained an audio recording of the private meeting the day before between the SEC leadership including commissioner Greg Sankey, the student-athlete leadership council and members of the conference’s medical advisory board.

"There are going to be outbreaks," the players were told. "We're going to have cases on every single team in the SEC. That's a given. And we can't prevent it."

Players questioned whether it was worth holding a football season during the pandemic.

"We want to play. We want to see football. We want to return to normal as much as possible," Texas A&M linebacker Keeath Magee II said. "But it's just that with all this uncertainty, all this stuff that's still circulating in the air, y'all know it kind of leaves some of us still scratching my head.

"I feel like the college campus is the one thing that you can't control."

The SEC quickly issued a statement that didn't say much: 

Then came news group of Pac-12 football players from multiple schools is threatening to opt out of camps and games this season unless the conference negotiates with them on issues like racial injustice and player safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

ESPN obtained a text message stating the reports the group aims to "obtain a written contract with the Pac- 12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits." Their list of demands also includes "securing economic rights and fair compensation, protecting all sports and obtaining long-term health insurance." 

The biggest issue the group reportedly seeks to address is racial injustice. The players are expected to issue a public statement on Monday,

On top of all that, Pat Forde and Roll Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reported Saturday that the Power 5 leaders are exploring the possibility of staging their own fall sports championships should they be canceled by the NCAA. 

The NCAA Board of Governors is expected to make a decision that, minus football, on Tuesday.

If so, it could be a first step toward a the Power 5 breaking away from the NCAA, which has been theorized and debated for years. 

Get ready for a bumpy ride, folks. 

Just wait until the politicians get involved, which could start happening at any time ...

Additional coronavirus concern

While there are a growing number of reports and studies indicating that the amount of young adults infected with the coronavirus is surging, experts are learning about some of the long-term implications. They include blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

Think athletes aren't taking notice? 

On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox announced that pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been out since the start of the season while dealing with COVID-19, will not play this season while recovering from a heart complication stemming from the coronavirus. 

Rodriguez, 27, has myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. The pitcher confirmed his diagnosis in an interview with WEEI radio on Sunday.

"That's the most important part of your body," Rodriguez said. "The first time I hear, I was kind of scared a little. Now that I know what it is, I'm still scared, but now I know exactly what it is. I just talk to my mom, talk to my wife, let them know what I have, and now I've got to take the rest."

NFL players have another week to decide whether to opt out of the season and roughly 40 have already done so including former Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley with the New York Jets. 

He signed a five-year, $85 million contract before the 2019 season. For 2020 he was set to have a $6 million base salary. Both it and his $1.5 million prorated signing bonus will get pushed back to 2021. Instead, he'll get a $150,000 salary advance, $350,000 if considered a high-risk opt-out. 

That's how seriously the players are taking this. 

Did you notice?

• Saturday was the first day official scholarship offers could go out in the class of 2021 and despite the in-person recruiting shutdown due to COVID-19 programs across the nation sent in varied graphics acknowledging top targets all over America. SI All-American compiled official offers throughout the Power Five. 

• With the St. Louis Cardinals the latest team to have a coronavirus outbreak, baseball is a mess. “In text conversations with teammates Friday, MLBPA player reps warned that if there is a big jump in COVID+ tests over the weekend, MLB season may be canceled,” Jeff Passan reported on Saturday morning while also noting it’s “unclear what the threshold is.”

• The deadline for underclassmen to formally withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft and return to school ahead is Monday. We'll finally have an answer about Alabaam wing John Petty Jr. 

• College football betting overview for the 2020 season

• Why the Big 12 is still split on its football scheduling plan.

Christopher Walsh's All Things CW regulaly appears on BamaCental. 

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