Miss A Lot, Miss A Little

Sep 2, 2020

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Just got back. I should have hung the "gone fishin'" sign (I wasn't really fishing) but I was unplugged for the last six days. Hopping back on Twitter today I see that a lot has happened in the last six days. But digging beyond Twitter, uh, maybe nothing happened?

I don't mean "nothing" of course. I see that the football and basketball teams held a BLM march through Champaign (looked pretty massive from the photos I saw). And I see that several magazines have picked up on the "UIUC can test 10,000 students and staff per day" story (still don't know why Yale is getting all the press). But as far as the whole Big Ten not playing/parents are protesting/SOURCES INDICATE/Nebraska players are suing/Kevin Warren is the devil (but he doesn't make the call) story, I don't think I can find anything concrete. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places but here's what I found:

  • The vote was 11-3 to postpone the season. Chancellor Jones, who has the Illinois vote, voted to postpone.
  • SOURCES INDICATE that the Big Ten football season will start in January, December, November, and even October. At least three of those four SOURCES are wrong. Probably four.
  • President Trump called Commissioner Warren. I hope they talked about the fact that ILLINOIS TRIED TO SAVE BIG TEN FOOTBALL WITH KICKASS TESTING but nobody really cared.
  • Dan Patrick says the Big Ten will reverse course and start the season October 10th. Isn't it like September now? Meaning training camp would start up next week if his SOURCES are correct?

Perhaps it's just the fact that I was away from it for nearly a week and then I'm reading it all at once, but is this the most "nobody cares if I throw out some guesses because if I'm wrong not a single person will hold me to it" moment in college football media history? I don't want to name any names, but there are national writers whose feeds I'm reading that were saying one thing late last week and completely different things early this week.

To the point where I think some people simply text with some buddies about the subject and then say things like "text I just received from someone in the know: Nebraska to play Oklahoma on Thursday". I mean, it's not a lie - it was an actual text that was received. If it turns out to be false, well, nobody was reporting that Nebraska and Oklahoma were playing on Thursday. They were just reporting that they received a text saying that. And you can't be held responsible for just reading a text.

I'm exaggerating, of course, but that's how all of this reads when you read six days at once. Everyone was leaning one way on Thursday, and then a different way on Saturday, and then an even different direction on Tuesday, and it's possible that none of it matters. Like, it's possible nothing happens from all this furor and the Big Ten (and Pac-12) simply start up their season after the first of the year like they announced weeks ago. Every single report might be wrong.

That makes the most sense in my head (which might be because I missed some things). I just don't see how a Big Ten can release a statement with this sentence...

While the data on cardiomyopathy is preliminary and incomplete, the uncertain risk was unacceptable at this time.

...and then back away from it 12 days later. November I could see - more studies come out, they have more info on the risk - but not September 1. These are campus presidents and chancellors we're talking about. That's not an insult - I'm simply saying that these are not change-my-mind-on-a-whim people.

Which is why this whole thing continues to remind me of a coaching search. Remember the 2012 basketball coaching search? There are actual reports from actual reporters saying that Mike Thomas is in final negotiations with Shaka Smart to become the head coach at Illinois. And then, when I'm searching for Shaka info on Twitter, I find some recruiting guy in North Carolina who was noting that Shaka Smart was visiting some high school recruiting for VCU that day (this was not a "sources indicate Smart not interested" tweet - just a simple "Smart will be at this high school today to meet with this player" tweet). We were seeing all this smoke and not an ounce of it was true.

And then a few days later we get reports that Mike Thomas was meeting with Brad Stevens... only to find out that Stevens was out fishing with his kids when a reporter in Indy went to his house. These were not message board rumors we were following - there were "sources indicate" tweets and news stories and none of it was true. Maybe Stevens and Smart were approached, but the negotiations and meetings and everything else we heard about? Fabricated out of thin air.

Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and the Big Ten will announced that they are, indeed, starting up the season in October. Maybe all of these sources are right. But when I started following the trail of "so and so is reporting that a November start is likely", I never found anything concrete. Seems to me, the Big Ten meetings are still "January or February start?" and the reports are all "OCTOBER 3RD IS THE FIRST GAME?".

(And what of the Pac-12? If this was really happening, wouldn't there be Pac-12 reports as well?)

Anyway, I've had a week to come up with something to write about and "so basically no one knows anything?" is all I've got. I pulled up Twitter, my first reaction was "wow - this is really happening?", and then I slowly learned that this all seems to be one big game of SOURCES INDICATE. Maybe I should go back in the woods and hide for another week.

Somebody text me if something actually happens.


Sweetchuck13 on September 2, 2020 @ 09:27 AM

Great comparison to the coaching search. One of the worst trends on Twitter when it comes to sports reporting is simply throwing out "Sources say..." without any detail about the source. At least when it's in a traditional article the reporter would usually say "Sources close to the program", "A source close to the B1G headquarters", or "A source close to Coach B" - so you have some semblance of how to evaluate the rumor. That's all been thrown away on Twitter and you can basically make up anything and later just claim it was a bad source. Everyone wants to be "FIRST!" and so they just throw it all out there and hope something is eventually right.

Nashvegas Illini on September 2, 2020 @ 12:30 PM

Really appreciate you summarizing all this up. I'm trying to not pay attention to it but I think the first week of Dec makes sense and could be the closest we come to a bubble (Last days of classes Dec 9th). The kids could be tested daily with the new oral tests and the kids wouldn't be jeopardizing the general pollution. You can have 8 games done by early Feb.

As for the presidents, we can do physical exams for each player before practice begins and at the 4 week mark to ensure health of all active players. Kids can still opt out if they don't feel comfortable.

IlliniBobLoblaw on September 2, 2020 @ 02:16 PM

the general pollution

^ surprisingly appropriate typo

Chukwuwumba on September 2, 2020 @ 02:59 PM

Guessing you would have to backtrack to find a possible first game... Camp starts beginning August, first game Labor Day weekend? Guessing schedule would stay the same as typical year. So, practice/camp would have Start now. For first week of October. How do you run camp during the school year? Need more time to get in football shape/same amount of practice tone before starting games? So maybe 6 weeks is needed before games start for adequate practice for fall games?. Or camp starts after finals in December And start games mid January earliest.

Norcal Illini on September 2, 2020 @ 06:57 PM

Wouldn't a short camp favor teams like ours that have a lot of seniors?

Bear8287 on September 6, 2020 @ 01:18 PM

PSU football doctor clarifies comments on percentage of COVID-positive athletes with myocarditis [[Link]][1]

CORRECTION: Penn State Health later clarified that the 30-35% figure pertaining to COVID-19-positive Big Ten athletes verbally shared with Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli by a colleague was actually published at the lower rate of 15%. He was unaware of that when he made his comments at the State College school board meeting, a spokesperson said. [1]: https://www.centredaily.com/sports/college/penn-state-university/psu-football/article245448050.html

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