Which will come first, Santa or Ohio State football?
It’s a lesson often learned by the age of five or six.
Wishing that Christmas or a birthday card from grandma and grandpa with $5, $10 or $20 inside would hurry up and arrive never makes it happen.
It’s a lesson many Ohio State, Big Ten and college football fans seem to have at least temporarily abandoned.
The suggestion that the Big Ten football season could be starting October 10 or by Thanksgiving or in January or in the spring, with no more supporting evidence than “a source” said so or a phone call from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, creates the mental equivalent of a stampede.
Let’s play. Let’s play now. The sooner the better is a popular, maybe even a prevailing sentiment in most of Ohio and Big Ten country this week in what would have been the first week of the football season for Ohio State.
OSU originally was scheduled to play Bowling Green on Saturday and would have played at Illinois Thursday night on the now you see it, now you don’t revised Big Ten schedule, which lasted all of six days in early August.
Instead, there is just a yearning for football. A yearning that will certainly grow stronger when the SEC, the ACC, the Big 12 and Notre Dame begin to play games.
There is no script for how choosing to play or not play will turn out.
If those leagues and Notre Dame get through September, October, November, December and January with minimal disruptions of their seasons, the Big Ten will look bad. If they have to shut things down because of coronavirus outbreaks in their football facilities or on their campuses, the Big Ten’s choice to delay the start of its season will seem wise.
While many Ohio State and Big Ten fans, players, coaches and parents are wishing for the quickest possible start of the season, you would also hope the Big Ten’s presidents and commissioner Kevin Warren are doing some wishing of their own, wishing that they could go back and do a better job of planning and explaining their decision.
Even the best possible explanation of the process wouldn’t have satisfied every player, coach, parent, athletic director or fan. But it might helped a little.
The Big Ten’s reportedly did not involve athletic directors and coaches directly in its decision. And its first explanation of its decision came in an interview of Warren on the Big Ten Network which was long on evasion and short on answers. So far, little has been heard from the Big Ten’s presidents,who were the real decision makers.
Legendary Michigan athletic director Don Canham used to say don’t make a one-day story a two-day story by refusing to talk about a problem. What the Big Ten has now is a three-week story with no exit ramp in sight.
The league that likes to think of itself as the gold standard of college athletics has a mess on its hands and is taking its time to fix it, which still might be the right decision in the long run.
Hopefully, it is working night and day to come up with a smart, safe way to play football again if there is one that can be found.
That doesn’t alleviate the ache for football so many people have, though. But should that desire be a priority anyway?
Wishes and hopes are fun to think about. But wishful thinking isn’t going to stop the coronavirus or start the football season.
Contact Jim Naveau at email@example.com
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