The powers that be in this country never cease to amaze me.
It’s wild that a man largely responsible for this country’s inadequate handling of a deadly pandemic — that has stripped the nation of everything it held dear, including college sports — will now beg college commissioners to reinstate football.
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Almost as if this man completely forgot the fact that he is a main reason why we won’t have a normal college football season to enjoy.
Yet that’s exactly what President Donald Trump is doing. On Tuesday morning he tweeted that he spoke with Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big Ten and the first African American commissioner of a Power Five conference.
The Big Ten decided last month to postpone all fall sports, with an 11-3 vote among the presidents and chancellors of the institutions.
Trump said he spoke with Warren about “immediately starting up Big Ten Football.” The president said that bringing back the game would be “great for everyone.”
It goes without saying that bringing college football back right now wouldn’t be great for everyone. It will likely cause a higher chance of COVID-19 spread and could potentially expose athletes, coaches, team personnel, and family members of these individuals to a disease that has a fatality rate of nearly 3 percent and has been proven to cause long-lasting health effects.
It also seems to be pretty clear that Trump is attempting to either get sports back in five key swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota — that all reside in Big Ten country, or, at least, make it clear to voters in those states that he’s doing “all he can” to make it happen.
If this wasn’t the case, then explain why he has not boasted about contacting the Pac-12 commissioner?
That conference also chose to postpone all sports for the rest of the year. But Trump is choosing to speak about the Big Ten because he knows how impactful his perception in these swing states will be to his chances for re-election.
But the Big Ten schools made the right decision to push back the season. Even under mounting public pressure, a lawsuit from players, and speculation that coaches are pushing to begin around Thanksgiving, the conference has held firm so far.
I have no idea what negotiating tactics or bullying strategies Trump tried to put on Warren in their call, if it even happened, but what I do know is that Trump has no business trying to save college sports when he should be trying to save a country first.
Updated on Sept. 1, 2020 at 4:30pm: A few hours after Warren’s supposed conversation with Trump, some reports stated that the Big Ten would try to return on October 10. However, Nebraska’s athletic director Bill Moos, who is also on a scheduling subcommittee for the conference, denied these reports in a text to a reporter from the Lincoln Journal Star:
If Trump had been this diligent about thwarting the spread of the pandemic and put in mandates in January or February we may have been able to see the Big Ten schools take the field this fall. Instead, he said the virus would “disappear” one day, “like a miracle.”
If Trump really wanted college football to be “great for everyone,” he would have done something about it months ago. Now, his attempts to save the season reek of desperation to save his chances at re-election.
There’s no need to make calls now, college football as we know it is over this season.
Similar to the Big Ten, the PAC-12 was not willing to risk the health of individuals just to forge on through a makeshift season. The other three power five conferences (SEC, Big 12, and ACC) will give it a go starting in September. But without the other two conferences in play, how can the FBS crown a legitimate champion?
Warren should not be pressured into reversing the plans already voted upon by the Conference. The truth is that postponement of the season was the only thing that truly made sense for athletes that couldn’t be sequestered into a “bubble” without their amateurism being questioned.
It’s not his fault that this virus was handled with incompetence and an extreme lack of empathy.
There is only one man to blame for that.
And he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.