Penn State, Rutgers and the Big Ten Reconsider Football
As a fan I am very happy that the Big Ten voted unanimously to play football beginning next month and will not apologize even though some in the media are on a soap box calling “foul” (or “penalty.”)
They believe that the conference is no better than the others that have already started playing or will shortly and have given in to greed, money, pressure and fanaticism. Yes they have and welcome to the world of big time college sports in 2020. I love college football more so than any other sport but I am also wise enough to know that at the upper level it is largely about money.
However that does not prevent me from devoting my time, energy and passion to watching young men in some cases wear the uniform of a school they are just using to maximize their earning potential as a pro. At the same time only about 2% of NCAA student-athletes who play football go on to be pros meaning that for 98% their college career is likely their last as a competitive athlete.
Clearly Big Ten presidents and chancellors were feeling the heat after voting on August 11th to cancel the fall sports season amid COVID-19 concerns. The medical reasoning was valid but the timing was questionable with most wondering why they did not simply delay the start of the season while continuing to address health issues including testing and cardiac screening. Now that has been apparently accomplished.
Again we would be foolish not to acknowledge the financial impact the loss of a college football season would have on the 14 institutions that make up the Big Ten, including Rutgers. Even though the games will be played in virtually empty stadiums the TV revenue alone will help cut into the considerable loss associated with football.
As part of Wednesday’s announcement the conference has agreed that games will be played on campus without fans with the exception of the families of players and staff. That means in college towns like State College, Columbus and Ann Arbor on game day there will be more than 100,000 empty seats which will clearly take away much of the atmosphere that makes college football in the Big Ten so special.
With all that said on the weekend of October 23-24 I will have a Penn State game to watch and you can be sure I will be wearing Nittany Lion gear and screaming at the TV. Sorry if you think I am shallow for being happy over this but in 2020 anything that makes you feel better is a good thing.