*Apologies that some of this news isn’t that fresh, but I’ve been compiling for a while. Gumbo’s always better on the 2nd day anyway.
As we barrel forward towards the college football season, and wonder if it will even take place, the decisions about if and how to play this year are all over the map, thanks in no small part to the utter lack of any decision making from the NCAA, who seem to prefer kicking the can down the road rather than take any blame for what happens.
Division 3 has almost completely shut down fall sports, and it only gets more fractured as you move up to D1 FBS.
Current status of Fall football across all conferences and divisions (7/31, 3pm ET)—NAIA is currently in flux. Thanks to those who've updated us and feel free to DM us corrections: pic.twitter.com/KlJbRI0qcM— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 31, 2020
As colleges wait on the NCAA, Sports Illustrated reports that even if the NCAA cancels the fall championships, some Power 5 conferences may decide to go on anyway, possibly kicking off the long rumored schism between the Power 5 and the NCAA.
As administrators continue to fret over how to justify playing football in a pandemic, the players, faced with the risks of contracting a disease that could damage their bodies irreparably, are not just sitting around and blindly trusting those in charge. Players from the SEC leaked recordings from a teleconference between players and conference administrators after being frustrated with their lack of good answers on a host of safety topics, including how players are supposed to keep themselves safe once thousands of other students return to campus.
Meanwhile on the west coast, a group of Pac 12 players have announced a planned boycott of the upcoming season, with a list of demands that range from preventing schools from forcing players to sign liability waivers that would waive all responsibility for COVID related player illnesses, to demanding a 50% revenue split of the Pac 12’s TV deal, and even a severe pay cut for P12 commissioner Larry Scott (because if there is one thing everyone in college football can agree on, it’s that Larry Scott is terrible.) The group includes many high profile P12 football players, including Oregon All-American offensive tackle Penei Sewell, and is said to be nearly 400 members strong.
What could come of all this is unknown, but after years of a growing call for more player compensation in college sports, the pandemic seems to have triggered a flash point in the fight between labor and management. A few weeks ago, the NCAA got dragged before congress to talk about the various player compensation laws gaining steam in statehouses across the country. Our friend Delly was there to watch people on both sides of the table make an ass of themselves.
LSU is starting to try out new full face helmet shields at practice. The early reviews are....not great.
Adapt. Adjust. Splash shields ready to go. pic.twitter.com/v0SW1xXA4m— LSU Football Equip (@LSUFBEquipment) July 31, 2020
LSU LB Soni Fonua wearing his COVID face shield helmet: “I can’t fucking breathe under this thing!”— Master (@MasterTes) August 2, 2020
Senior offensive lineman Austin Deculus: “It’s like breathing in a Ziploc bag.” pic.twitter.com/NR3nCNaxXK
The world of the pandemic has been very rough on the world of the sports broadcaster, from your SEC Network hosts down to local hometown guys like LSU Legend Lyn Rollins. SI interviewed many of them to find out how they’re surviving in a world without many sports to call.
Other P5 conferences and teams have been moving forward with their own plans, some of which give a glimpse into what may be coming to LSU this season. Michigan and Ohio St have announced reduced capacity plans and various safety and distancing measures like prohibiting on-campus tailgating.
Amid all that’s gone on, you may have missed the news that Vanderbilt has some very strange things going on. After hiring a new AD, Vandy quietly gutted their entire Athletics SID staff and is shuttering the department. Rivals has a detailed look at the moves which don’t seem to make much sense for a Power 5 athletic department.
On the bluffs of North Baton Rouge, the decision on football has already been made. Southern, and the rest of the SWAC are postponing all fall sports to the spring. In the case of the SWAC and other FCS leagues, the decision is easy. Their income is much more based on home game revenue than TV money, so it makes no sense for them to play when fans can’t come to games. Assuming the US can get back to normal this spring, it might be big boon for the SWAC, though not without other compromises. Southern AD Roman Banks told BR Proud that the reality of a spring football season may compromise other spring sports on campus, like baseball.
Interesting nugget out of Lake Charles: Frank Wilson, former LSU RB coach and recently fired from the UTSA HC job, thought about coming back to LSU before eventually taking the McNeese St HC job. He’ll be coaching Coach O’s son Cody this season.
After a playing career in the WNBA and around the world, LSU legend Temeka Johnson is back in Louisiana, now as the girls basketball coach at John Curtis.
If you’re trying to find a rooting interest in the MLB season (for however long it lasts) and the Astros somehow offend you, you might want to look into the Detroit Tigers, now with Zach Hess and a resurgent JaCoby Jones. It turns out there’s a bit of an LSU-Detroit pipeline building and it’s thanks to Detroit GM Al Avila, who got his first coaching job on Paul Mainieri’s staff at St. Thomas.
In other college baseball news, one of LSU Baseball’s all-time great rivals, USC and UC-Irvine coach Mike Gillespie has passed away. D1 Baseball.com details the career of one of the greats of the West Coast.
How about some regular old college football blog trolling? The SEC’s move to play no OOC games in 2020 means the breaking of many long standing rivalries. And Dawg Sports thinks the break from Georgia Tech should be permanent.
Roll Bama Roll recently celebrated an NCAA rule change that would have prevent certain aspects of Auburn’s 2019 Iron Bowl victory. College and Mag responded by making sure all those Bama fans were fully aware of all the other times Auburn has employed subterfuge to defeat Tha THAD.
I want to end on some good news and after scraping the bottom of the barrel, I found some. The construction project to add a protected left turn lane south of campus on Nicholson at Brightside will FINALLY be completed in the next few days.