Ordinarily I don't mind being in charge — though my wife will be the first to point out that I often struggle with simple decision making such as the hot topic of, 'What do you want for dinner?'. Still, the idea of running the NCAA or a major conference and actually handing down timely, sensible rulings on infractions or transfer waivers is very appealing.
But those are seemingly obvious choices with a strong consensus from those who follow such things closely as to what the right answers are.
In recent weeks, I've never been more thankful that I wasn't in a position to have to make the big calls on college athletics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our world into chaos on all fronts. It has led to numerous debates — justified and otherwise — on how we live our lives and seek refuge during a mentally and physically taxing time simply to exist as a human being.
This has put conference and school administrators in an impossible position — one which they have navigated about as poorly as possible.
There have been mixed messages, confusion, panic, and general incompetence by those in charge leaving those under them scrambling to figure out what's next.
That's not to say there are easy answers here. If you cancel the season you're considered weak and ignorant of the economic and social ramifications of that decision. If you play despite the ongoing pandemic many will find you ignorant and callous to the well-being of the players.
Many things are out of everyone's control. In times of crisis however, sometimes it's important to focus on the things you can control such as a lack of clear communication and planning.
Of course players and coaches want to play. That's never been in doubt. I mean, with guys walking around saying things like this it shouldn't be any question:
There is incredible passion among the people who choose to dedicate their lives to these sports. This is understandable and even admirable most of the time. But this is a unique situation where passion can cloud judgment and errors will likely be felt for much longer than just this fall and winter.
There are some very real and troubling potential long term health issues to consider. Those issues are paramount, but of course there are equally real and painful economic realities to consider in college towns across America.
I think health and well-being comes first and I tend to take a, 'better safe than sorry' mindset here, but even I'm a hypocrite in this case.
I want to continue to have this writing and editing gig and that may well disappear without college football or basketball to cover. I also badly want to watch the games I love if only to feel a twinge of normalcy for a few fleeting moments this fall.
The entire situation has shone yet another light on the obvious reality that college football in particular is a business. Big business.
I'm glad I don't have to choose. Again, if it were up to me we'd probably have tacos every night...which actually doesn't seem like a bad result.
But this is a serious matter and one where the right answers probably won't be clear for some time. I continue to take the sensible and reasonable precautions I know I can take to protect myself and my family. I'm staying as active and healthy as I can and controlling the things I can control.
Maybe the folks in charge can take a lesson from me and my tacos after all?
One thing we know for certain right now is that our sports leaders need to step up and figure out a way forward.
A lot of people are depending on it.