Now that it looks all but official the Big Ten and Pac 12 football conferences will suspend play this fall, Tuesday’s interview between Clay Travis and President Donald Trump is even more timely and, hopefully, inspiring to a nation being goaded (by Big Media, of course) to give up the things they love to show deference to THE VIRUS.
CNN, ever the optimist, leaves little doubt about which way it hopes this is headed (emphasis mine).
The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences each voted Tuesday to postpone college football and all other fall sports seasons as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic, a development that may signal the beginning of the end for all sports at the collegiate level in 2020.
But CNN has a problem. Namely the SEC, ACC, Big 12, American, Sun Belt, and Conference USA, all of whom hope to make a fall season work. The SEC doesn’t seem to be breaking, having already released their full in-conference schedule (a change meant to address some of the concerns surrounding COVID).
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) August 11, 2020
And the ACC, following Monday meetings, indicated an absolute intent to play.
And the President agrees, telling Travis Tuesday that he felt the canceled conferences were a huge mistake while waxing disappointed in what’s happened to sports like basketball that seem to have lost their way.
“First of all, those people in [college football] are incredible people,” Trump told Travis. “Some of the coaches like Nick Saban and Coach O; how bout Coach O? He’s central casting. And Lou Holtz is a fantastic friend of mine. So many others. They’re just great people, and they want to play football. These people (players) are so powerful and so strong and not lots of body fat, maybe none in some cases and they’re very healthy people. People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people who get sick. They’re old. Especially old people with heart and weight problems.
“This attacks older people very viciously by the way. But these football players are very young, strong people physically. They’re not going to have a problem. Could it happen? I doubt it. You’re not going to see people dying. Young people have the sniffles. The state of California, almost nobody like zero, that was young had a serious problem. I think football is making a tragic mistake (if the season were to be canceled).”
Trump had already signaled his support for the player-led #WeWantToPlay social media effort a day earlier when Clemson University’s star QB Trevor Lawrence spoke eloquently about what some of the athletes who cannot return to school and the field will ultimately face.
People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19 (1)
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 9, 2020
Lawrence touched on something that sparked interest and agreement from Trump’s newest adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, who will be part of the coronavirus task force going forward. As my colleague Michael Thau wrote of Atlas’ appointment Tuesday, the good doctor is “former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and now a senior fellow at Stanford’s ultra-prestigious Hoover Institution.”
And here’s what he said about college football and the interminable fear of THE VIRUS.
Atlas said he agreed with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who tweeted Monday that people “are at just as much, if not more risk” of contracting the virus if there is no college football this fall.
“He is an incredibly mature, insightful young man,” Atlas said of the 20-year-old Lawrence. “He’s nailing something right away, which is that the environment of college sports and athletes is a very, very sophisticated environment. They have health care. They are very controlled. There’s accountability. They couldn’t get a better and safer environment, no matter what environment you’re from.”
Atlas added that college students are at an age where they have little to no risk from the virus, while players or coaches with comorbidities have the option to opt out.
“We have to become rational here,” he said. “The risk for people that age is less than seasonal influenza. I mean, you have to really look at the data …You can’t say it’s all about the science and then act contrary to science.”
The weeks before the season starts are going to be tense ones for college football fans, but here’s hoping the courage of the remaining conferences holds. Because when all’s said and done, Saturday Down South nails what happened. And you can be sure Big Media is going to pick up where the Big Ten left off.
The Big Ten effectively tried to play bully to the other Power 5 Conferences, and Greg Sankey’s statement Monday taught new Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren a tough lesson — the SEC is the power broker in college football, not the Big Ten.
For the full Clay Travis/Donald Trump interview, please see the video embedded below.