Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 AUGUST 2020 5 FAN FORUM FROM THE WEBSITE Since the middle of March and the abrupt can- cellation of college basketball's March Madness, professional sports, and eventually all spring and summer athletic events, the question loomed: Will this COVID-19 pandemic lead to the termination of the 2020 football season this autumn? While there was some optimism that "this too shall pass" and by August the "flattening of the curve" would stabilize health risks, that has hardly been the case. By early July, the Ivy League and Patriot League had canceled fall sports, while the big-time college football leagues such as the Big Ten and Pac-12 conceded that a conference-only slate provides the possibility of a damage control option. Some might refer to it as delaying the inevitable of scrapping the football season, but also possibly revisiting op- tions for it in the spring of 2021. Notre Dame originally had six ACC games sched- uled in 2020 and commissioner John Swofford already has gone on record that the Fighting Irish — because of the unique circumstances — would be included in league play. Regardless, the potential of life without foot- ball was a prevalent theme this July on Blueand- Here is a sampling of the hundreds of thoughts, frustration and confusion expressed: DB31: Why are conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 playing only league games? Tell me what is the difference playing Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin in Lambeau and Wisconsin or some other Big Ten team traveling to play at Maryland or New Jersey (vs. Rutgers)? Makes zero sense — and moving anything to the spring makes no sense. The vaccine most likely won't be available then, so what's the difference? Either play or end the season and give up millions of $$$. Fedman: It is all about control and being able to make quick and decisive decisions. If you go forward with your normal schedule that includes 3-4 non-conference games, then you cannot unilaterally decide to move the dates of those games, the starting times, place a limit on the numbers that make up a team's travel squad, support staff and other personnel. You have to get the permission and OK from the conferences of those 3-4 non-conference teams. When you play a conference-only schedule, the conference com- missioner makes those decisions. Also you will not have to worry about having a competitive disadvantage by playing a conference- only schedule. The conference can set various practice rules on its schools to limit virus exposure that all the member teams have to follow. If you play non-conference teams, they might not have those same practice limitations — and that might give them a competitive advantage. It makes sense to play an all-conference schedule in our current environment. Let there be one voice coming from the conference commissioner that all teams on a schedule must follow. GoldenJudge: It's about navigating COVID-re- lated issues in order to ensure a reasonable season in order to bring in the revenue from TV contracts, because ticket sales are highly questionable given that these universities are under extreme financial strain. They feel they have a better chance of pulling that off when they have complete control of both parties to a game and are able to set health and testing protocols and switch schedules quickly if a problem with one team occurs as an example. MMcCormick: It's mainly economic. The Power Five conference schools typically pay the weak non-power schools a bunch of money to play them. Like $500,000 to $1 million a game. Athletic budgets are pinched, so they can save a lot of money taking those games off the schedule. It creates a crisis for the non-Power Five schools, though. Kind of shady if you ask me. PreTill1: COVID is the reason conferences are going to 10 games and starting later. Conferences must protect their TV contracts so those games will not be canceled. Keep in mind these conference commission- ers talk to one another. All they need to hear is one conference is considering to keep games in house. The easiest way to control that is going to conference-only games. That means all games can be televised by their network. Michigan going to Washington doesn't help the Big Ten Network. Not one person has stated it is safer for a team to travel further for one game. However, it is better to travel for 10 games vs. 12. It's all about the money. SUMMER PROTOCOL One of's regulars familiar with the program provided insight on the strict guide- lines Notre Dame players had this summer at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Cardinal Irish: All players and staff get tempera- ture checks every time they walk into the Gug. If it is above 100.4, they immediately go into quaran- tine and begin testing procedure. Everyone is wearing masks, including in workouts. They are working out in small groups where distancing of eight feet is between players at all times. The equipment is wiped down after each set of use. In other words, if you and I are part- ners, you do a set and then wipe down equipment before I do a set. They are utilizing multiple locker rooms, every other shower, etc., to keep things at low occupancy and to help ensure distancing. Notre Dame is projecting to spend well over $1 million beyond what they typically spend for pro- fessional cleaning crews and sanitization multiple times per day beyond the measures above. I'm pretty sure that level of detail is beyond what any other environment would have for a college-aged kid. ✦ BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: The Big Ten took the lead with a conference-only model in 2020, and the Pac-12 soon followed. If the ACC does the same, Notre Dame "likely" would be included per league commissioner John Swofford. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Get A 60-Day Free Trial With Code: IRISH60

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