No bubble, no ball


We Are United: No Bubble, No Ball


As I write these words, America sits at over 5 million cases of Coronavirus and just shy of 160,000 deaths due to the pandemic.


Things like masks, social distancing, and even sending children back to school during one of the worst health crises in modern history have become highly politicized. As a result, many Americans are split on issues that should be commonplace solutions. The debates continue, while little action is taken. The country hasn’t done much of anything correctly or proactively when it comes to defeating the spread of Covid-19.

That’s why there are lingering questions about how collegiate athletics like football and basketball can eventually get underway. Right now, all anyone can do is use the examples set forth by professional sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB who have resumed play. One of the associations is getting it right, while the other is floundering and flailing miserably. 


This Week In Baseball
Photo Credit: Vox

When Major League Baseball shut down spring training amid the initial surge of the virus, they did consider going to places like Southern California and Florida for a bubble. That idea was scrapped almost immediately. They decided that it would be enough to remove the fans and keep traveling from city to city. With that part figured out, the league focused instead on infighting and dysfunction while trying to determine how many games they would play. 

When it came time to play ball, MLB quickly demonstrated that its safety protocols and guidelines were more of a suggestion than an ingrained set of rules. At least 17 Miami Marlins players tested positive for the virus after a night out on the town in Atlanta after they played the Braves. Not only did the players risk their safety and the subsequent safety of their other team members and staff by leaving the team hotel that evening, but they also took it a step further with added stupidity. Via group text, they decided to play against the Phillies even after learning that they had infected teammates on the active roster. 


This Week In Baseball
Photo Credit: Redbird Rants

The St. Louis Cardinals have also seen a significant outbreak since the season recently got underway. No less than 13 of their players have tested positive, and they like the Marlins had to postpone their season. This led to rampant speculation that MLB would have to shut down again, and with the way these events have transpired, it’s just a matter of time before another team sees similar results. 

The NBA has seen no such outbreaks. In fact, the league and its bubble have posted zero positive tests for the third consecutive week. While the NBA and MLB share a rigorous and extensive testing system, the Orlando Campus is virus-free for one simple reason; the players, staff, and media are sequestered there away from everyone and everything. They are sheltering in place. Because of this, the games have gone off without a hitch. 


College sports are vastly different.


For one, their professional counterparts are being paid ridiculous sums of money to partake in these games. The pros have a lot of incentive to play, whereas student-athletes play for scholarships ostensibly. Risking one’s health for a free education doesn’t really have the same ring to it as risking one’s health for millions upon millions of dollars. That’s why groups such as MWUnited (Mountain West United) and a contingent of Pac-12 football players have spoken out amid growing concerns of their safety during the upcoming season. Both groups sent in a list of demands to their respective athletic commissioners and have stated that if the needs are not met, there will be mass opt-outs of the season. 


No Bubble, No Ball
Photo Credit: The Coloradoan

These concerns are extremely valid. At Colorado State, ten players and staff members came forward with claims that the staff there blatantly told their athletes not to report symptoms. The players were allegedly threatened with reduced playing time if they came forward. Reports also came out at CSU that the athletic department was altering contact tracing reports. One thing can be sure; if this is happening in Fort Collins, it’s happening elsewhere. 

College football is big business. Boise State, another Mountain West school, reported that if the 2020 season did not take place, they would lose $20 million. That’s just one school in one conference. If the Power 5 wasn’t able to play football this year, it’s estimated they would lose up to $4 billion. 

When that kind of money is at stake, the powers that be are going to take the risk, that’s the reason the economy has been prioritized during a pandemic, and the United States raced to open states early. There’s always going to be people in charge that look at a percentage of the population as expendable. The almighty dollar will take precedence to those types. 


No Bubble, No Ball
Photo Credit: #WeAreUnited

So when it’s young people in their late teens and early 20’s who are going to be trotted out to save academic institutions that kind of money, it’s integral that the safest and smartest solution be utilized. The Big East and Big Ten proposed on August 7th that a bubble be implemented for college basketball. As proven by the NBA (Also the NHL, TBT, and MLS), that’s the only way actually to keep these kids safe. 

Big business, aka the Fortune 500, aka the NCAA/Power 5, and yes, even the Group of 5 are going to give this thing a go whether it’s safe or not. There’s too much money on the line for them not to.

Kids will be given a choice to opt-out, but as mentioned above with Colorado State, for many of them, the pressure is on them to play or else. So, many student-athletes will play regardless. That means it’s up to the powers that be to give them all the best chance to stay healthy while they do compete. And that’s with a bubble.

Anything else will lead to widespread breakouts. Just ask MLB.


On Monday afternoon the Mountain West Conference joined the MAC canceling their fall sports season. On Tuesday it is expected that the Pac-12 and Big-10 will do the same, or at least postpone them. The SEC, Big-12, and ACC are meeting and taking a wait and see approach at the moment.

We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play    We are united     We want to play     

-Jeff Waddilove – Franchise Sports Media

Follow me on Twitter @JeffWaddilove


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