Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Texas Tech Red Raiders fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The evening looms ominously on the horizon - where the Big 12 has put off (for far too long) their decision on how the Fall football season will shakeup. I note far too long because the presumptive conference to hold out for a full schedule until the end, the Southeastern Conference, decided that it would switch to an all-conference season days ago. So now with the doomsday clock ticked well past the zero mark the Big 12 higher ups are gathering to get with the program. It’s expected that tonight they’ll release a conference-only schedule.
AND IT IS MY HOPE THAT THEY INVITE BYU INTO THE CONFERENCE. I WANT EXCUSES TO TRAVEL TO UTAH.
So while the NBA, NHL and MLB (lol) return to action without fans, schools across the country are forced to deal with the tough reality that fans may be a myth come fall. While some schools have announced plans that allow fans to attend college football games in a limited capacity, that doesn’t mean fans are eager to pack the stands. In the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, fans were asked if they would be open to attending a college football game in person this season.
Just over 50 percent of fans said they would.
Gotta love the irony that SBNation used a Longhorn fan as “would attend,” when it was already difficult to get them to attend pre-pandemic. Regardless, all four of the major American sports leagues have struggled with the bottom-line hit caused by losing ticket sales. But none of them pack in crowds like the biggest college football stadiums around the country, which pack in sometimes upwards of 100,000 fans each game. Hell - even the Jones can get upwards of 65,000 in there (stop laughing).
But all of this begs a harder question: is it appropriate for us, as fans, to expect athletes to play contact sports whenever we’re not even ready to sit in the stands next to a drunk pledge throwing up his morning Beefeater? We joke that schools being reopened in the fall are being decided on people via f-cking Zoom, but this is the reality for some adults sucked into the surprising modern slavery of -checks notes- being an athlete. In fact, athletes across the nation have been voicing their concerns about being exposed to the coronavirus with no real compensation. Notably the recent boycott threat from players in the Pac-12 outlines some serious concerns for student-athletes across the country.
If you haven’t heard about this or looked into it, one of the main concessions that athletes are seeking is medical insurance for sports-related conditions that lasts six years after their collegiate careers. In that same pipeline they’re looking for the conference to redistribute nearly half of its sports-generated revenue back to the athletes for things like future medical expenditure. This seems like a ridiculous notion, but the Pac 12 generated over $500 million dollars off of sports alone; not to mention their tv network that netted over $100 million. In a conference that supports some 7,000 athletes each year it seems pretty obvious to have stronger procedure when it comes to protecting their health, but that’s not the case.
Ramogi Huma, the National College Players Association and the organization’s executive director, has said that “business as usual in college sports is very abusive. That combined with a pandemic is a total disaster. NCAA sports has failed. And with players, I think there’s just some desperation. They’re really concerned about their health and safety.” And from a group of people that have had to fight for their fair slice of the NCAA football franchise image-likeness for a long while this seems absolutely insurmountable despite being an actual disease that kills people.
It’s clear that coronavirus has changed a number of ways we do daily life. People are washing their hands more, everybody is making sourdough, and Jill from HR realizes we don’t have to have an office meeting for thirty minutes when she can just send out an email like a normal person. But there are still issues at hand that are not as easily overcome by basic necessity. The largest of those being the nature of organizations structured around massive revenue streams with minimal compensation to the very athletes that make it profitable. Don’t be fooled, compensation isn’t something new because there’s a global pandemic. Athletes have been fighting for more safety, whether it be financially or medically, for some time now. This just came to the forefront of fans’ discourse because it’s affecting our ability to enjoy a simple pass time... and thank goodness for that.
If there’s football with attendance in the fall, would you attend?
This poll is closed
Yes, even if there’s full capacity
Yes, if there is restricted capacity
No, I will watch from home