Not to postpone the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. USA Today reported on Monday that the Games will be postponed. If so, that’s the right decision. The only decision.
But some are making the leap to a canceled or shortened college football season, since the Olympics (July 24-Aug. 9) coincide with the beginning of football practice.
The 2020 college football season is certainly in danger. But it’s not there — yet.
The Summer Olympics are not practical for a variety of reasons. For starters, athletes from around the world were beginning to pull out of the Games.
An Olympic Games is the opposite of social distancing. It’s hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe congregating in one city, one village, one arena, one pool, wrestling mat, etc.
It’s the last week of March. There’s a long way to go until July. There’s no way to know where the virus might be contained by then, if then.
Who knows how many other countries will still be dealing with it by July and August? And how many other countries will get it by then?
The worldwide pandemic isn’t going away soon. In some cases, it is just getting started.
Do you really want those athletes and fans bringing it to Tokyo and spreading it around for athletes and fans to then go back to their native countries?
No, no and no again.
The Olympics moving to 2021 is a much better idea. Not that we’re guaranteed of having a handle on this thing next year. But for 2020, it doesn’t work.
Now, what about our favorite sport?
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said on Monday that he has daily discussions with athletic directors in the Big Ten and the league office, but mostly about the spring sports season and the NCAA tournament that was just canceled. Nothing about the upcoming football season.
“There hasn’t been much discussed about football,” Moos said. “I think we’re all hoping this will level out long before that. If the Olympics are going to postpone mid-to-late summer ... we haven’t had any of those discussions. We’re in mid-March, too.”
There’s no telling when or if the virus will be contained in the U.S. this year. But, say our country had a handle on it by the end of the summer. Say that numbers are considerably down. Schools and universities are open again, lockdowns are over.
If there was no danger in getting exposed with a full-contact sport, you could begin playing again.
Maybe that would start later. Maybe it would be a shortened season. And maybe it could happen in front of limited crowds, or no crowds.
Imagine a Nebraska football home game with Memorial Stadium empty. The Huskers on the road in an empty Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio. Or an empty Kinnick Stadium.
Would the Nebraska sellout streak be over? Technically, the games are already sold out.
These are strange times, getting stranger by the day. We certainly have bigger things to think about than whether we get to watch college football.
But that dream keeps many of us going. It’s still here — until it’s not.
Mike Unger, USA Swimming’s chief operating officer, said that if the Olympic Games are postponed to 2021, USA Swimming would still have the Swim Trials in Omaha the following year.
» As we are all trying to keep ourselves entertained, I decided to try something different this week. I asked for questions on Twitter and I will now answer them here.
My friend Sam Mellinger does this every week for the Kansas City Star. If this works out, he gets the credit. If not, you bet I’ll blame him.
Q: More likely: Husker football national championship or Creighton basketball national championship? — Tom Lewis
A: In the short term, I’m going to say Creighton.
This past season changed the way many of us look at Jays basketball. Even though CU still hasn’t made that Sweet 16, winning a share of the Big East title, along with some of the impressive wins, transformed the program’s image.
With the top six players back and two key additions coming on, CU will start next season in the top five of the polls. It’s a team I think can make the Final Four. And if you get that far, who knows?
Creighton isn’t going away, but next year figures to be a special year with a special team playing together for the final time. So, if it’s going to happen, next year is a candidate.
Nebraska football? Scott Frost has the knowledge and drive to get the Huskers to the College Football Playoff. But there are several hoops to jump through — a conference title game and two playoff games — as opposed to the old days. And we also know NU isn’t close to that level right now.
Q: How are Cornhusker fans surviving without spring football? — Mike Gude
A: They’re taking walks and doing stuff with family and hopefully staying in — and perhaps watching old videos of Nebraska football games. And they’re on Twitter, asking questions like this, from Bob Friend.
Q: What is your Husker Mount Rushmore?
A: Let me get back to you on that, Bob, at the end of this column.
Q: Who’s the leading receiver for the Huskers next season? Who’s going to lead them in sacks? — Regg Carnes
A: I’m tempted to say JD Spielman, but the way he mysteriously left in early March makes me wonder if he’ll be back. So let’s go with Wan’Dale Robinson. He’ll be focused more on receiver, he’s a big-time playmaker, and Omar Manning and Zavier Betts are threats to not only be factors but also keep defenses from sitting on Robinson. As for sacks, go with Ben Stille and keep an eye on Deontre Thomas and Ty Robinson.
Q: Greatest Husker offensive lineman? Best punt returner — Tim Lucas
A: Dave Rimington is the most decorated. He’s generally considered The Guy. But Will Shields had such a prolific NFL career, I have to throw him in there, too. Rimington raised the bar for NU offensive linemen. He was a Heisman-caliber player at center.
Punt returner? There’s a bunch but there’s only one. Johnny Rodgers.
Q: Why do you think Omahans and Nebraskans are so sports crazy? — Jeff Buescher
A: Jeff’s reference here is in terms of attending events. It’s a good question. And no, it’s not because there’s nothing to do here. Most places around the country, people are on their phones. The beach and the mountains are just another place to look at your phone. We do that here, too.
I’ve always said Nebraskans like to work hard and play hard. Part of that play is getting in the game. This is a big participation sports state. A lot of older, former athletes still get after it in Nebraska. I love ’em for it, and their orthopedic surgeons love ’em, too.
Our passion for sports has led us to build several top-rate facilities, places where it’s exceptionally fun to watch a game. And places to “play” outside those facilities, too.
Q: What do you believe is Coach Frost’s top concern (in terms of football) with everything being shut down? — Chaz in SoCal
A: Development, plain and simple. The recruiting class cavalry is coming in the fall, but there was a prime class that sat out last season that is champing to get some reps. There were no bowl practices. Now, no spring drills.
That stands for every program, but some programs are developed. Nebraska is still building. It puts the process behind schedule. That doesn’t mean things can’t be good or happen this fall. But that’s another reason there won’t be any hype this fall.
Q: Do you think the Power Five schools will eventually leave the NCAA? — R Boyd
A: They have wanted to for years but have never figured out how or haven’t had the leader or plan in place.
Back in the 1980s, the College Football Association was formed by former Big Eight Commissioner Chuck Neinas with the specific purpose of taking the top 60 or so football programs and putting them in charge of their own destiny. The CFA had an annual convention in Dallas and the big boys talked about doing their own thing, making their own rules, own TV deal, etc. The CFA helped break the NCAA’s TV chains in 1984 when Oklahoma and Georgia won the Supreme Court case that led to every game being on TV today.
But the CFA could never figure out how to break apart. That same frustration is still there. A couple of weeks ago, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey complained when the NCAA canceled the basketball tourney and didn’t have communication with the Power Five commissioners. There’s grumbling. But until someone comes up with a way to do it, that’s all you’ll get.
» One more and I’m outta here: My Husker Mount Rushmore is Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, John Cook and Johnny Rodgers. The two football coaching icons, the coaching icon of NU women’s sports and the greatest Husker player ever.
Want to argue? See you back on Twitter next Sunday night.