Politics have found themselves a home in our sports.
If anyone had any doubts about the motives of the Big 10 and Pac 12 last week when they closed down their fall sports, football specifically, you certainly don’t have to look very hard to see it has political vibrations everywhere.
First, Big 10 Commissioner Kevin Warren stated in an article several months ago that he wanted “to swing a presidential election,” and that one of his first priorities was to make a concentrated effort to get the 10,000 or so athletes in the conference to register to vote.
Since when does a college sports commissioner concern himself with voting registration?
That struck me as very odd when I first read the article which was written by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated in June, so I decided I might check a few things out.
It now seems apparent Warren and most of the Democratically-aligned states governors were going to use the student athletes of the Big 10 as political pawns for the upcoming presidential election. While the states involved are close in the actual Republican-Democratic led states, it’s something to note that some states have several schools involved in the same state, most notably Michigan and Illinois.
Also, it seems the schools which have come out the strongest against the closure of the football season have come from the Republican led states of Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.
Of course the Pac-12 followed suit a few hours after the Big 10 announcement and cancelled all of their fall sports along with football. The Pac-12 schools are overwhelmingly located in Democratic states.
So what’s the connection? The connections are that the remaining major football conferences, the Big 12, ACC and SEC are all geographically located in states ran by Republicans.
I can’t sometimes walk and chew gum at the same time, but it’s pretty obvious when you start putting the dots together that both political parties are interested in getting our college sports involved in what is going to be a mess of an election. It’s seems the Democrats want us to not have football and cause unrest which could boost their chances in November and the Republicans are trying to get football back on the field to boost their chances for re-election.
Governors can influence universities when it comes to funding as well as appointing trustees and higher educational boards which in turn can dictate how that university operates. Seems there has been pressure from the top to push both the Democratic and Republican agendas on schools and universities and throw in a commissioner who has already stated he has aspirations of “swinging an election,” and we have all the ingredients we see mixing in in our “sports pot.”
While the risks associated with Covid-19 continue to be the reason some thought football might not be played at all on the college level, it seems it has become more of an excuse for things. Stating the safety of the student athletes because of the risk of Covid-19 as the main reason for cancelling the football season, the Big 10 schools have also allowed students, by the thousands, to return to campus.
So which is it? If it’s because of safety issues, then why would you allow students to flood your campus?
Currently parents and players are asking the Big 10 commissioner for the medical data cited as the reason for shutting down football and other fall sports. That sounds like a reasonable request since this decision, supposedly made in the best interest of the students will have lasting effects on the student-athletes and their families.
It also may have lasting effects on the upcoming elections.
Dee McLelland is the Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News.