Commentary: Indecisive on Football, Pac-12 Only Adds to the Angst
The rules for college football have been thrown out the window.
That much is clear.
Some conferences, in the midst of a pandemic, earlier decided to play fall games, while others chose to postpone.
Standout players have abandoned the game in droves, opting out for pro reasons, health reasons or both.
A half-dozen games were postponed or canceled just this past weekend over virus concerns.
Florida State coach Mike Norvell has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-quarantining.
Will there be enough healthy players available to hold a national championship?
Under great pressure, the Big Ten last week made a big show of reversing itself five weeks after declaring it was unsafe to continue.
It met to decide to meet again.
While others make snap decisions either to schedule games or junk them, the Pac-12 can't seem to make up its mind over what to do for the University of Washington and the 11 other member schools.
Of course, there is no instructional manual for how to deal with a global contagion that has taken the lives of nearly 200,000 American people.
Yet Pac-12 presidents and chancellors are checking their personal schedules to see if they can free up a little time next Thursday and hold another football discourse.
USC president to UW president: I think I've got a little time after lunch. Does that work for you?
No, in a moment of crisis, we've always looked to our leaders to size up a situation as best they can and make a firm decision and live with it.
We've done this with wars, financial meltdowns, terrorism attacks.
We do this in sports, too.
The Pac-12, while being careful with the lives of its football players from Tucson to Seattle, comes off clueless.
It has commissioner Larry Scott, the highest-paid athletic leader in the land, deferring to someone else at every step of the way. Such as the Big Ten. Public health officials, who say they're not in his way.
To be fair, Scott contracted COVID-19 this past spring.
Does he feel clear-headed enough in his recovery to make tough decisions? Or is he just minding the store?
League watchdogs such as the well-informed Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asks why the Pac-12 didn't get proactive on Sept. 3 once it entered into an agreement with a company to provide rapid testing for its football players.
Good question, Wilner.
Scott called the testing capabilities a game-changer.
The Pac-12 and the rest of the Power 5 conferences all should be playing in empty or limited-seating stadiums by November.
They will continue to schedule and postpone games as the contagion climate permits.
There will be more player opt-outs.
Fewer schools if any will play full schedules, because their teams or opponents most likely will have positive cases flare-ups. The regular flu season is coming, too.
Teams will get six or eight games in.
The national championship will be called off or become a farce, determined not by the best teams, only the healthiest at the moment.
Everyone eventually will forget what took place in 2020 and early 2021.
Put blinders on and try to re-open the stadiums to fans and play non-conference games again.
As for the Pac-12, as it tries to climb out of the sporting rubble, it will do what companies are doing everywhere, such as Boeing and others.
Offer Scott a buyout.
This was going to happen before the pandemic hit anyway. His league, even pre-pandemic, was floundering behind the other Power 5 conferences, with him calling the shots. His performance was the opposite of his salary.
Scott will be out, done, retired. With no discernible Pac-12 legacy of any kind.
Bill Walton, the say-anything broadcaster and a former UCLA basketball dynasty-builder, will declare himself a candidate for the man's job and everyone will chuckle.
Hey, it's the League of Champions, Walton will continue to remind us without any modern-day proof.
The Pac-12 will announce a new leader, after several months of holding meetings, rescheduling meetings and going without anyone in that position. It will present someone it says has a proven track record for being decisive and successful.
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