As expected, the Pac-12 also eliminated all non-conference games. The plan they’ve put in place is to have every team play ten games against exclusively Pac-12 opponents (the same nine opponents that were featured on your schedule heading into all of this, plus one additional team selected seemingly at random). Anyway, without further ado, here’s Washington’s 2020 schedule (spoiler alert: UCLA is the team they added to bring it to ten games):
- September 26th – Stanford
- October 3rd – Arizona
- October 10th – @ Cal
- October 24th – Oregon State
- October 31st – @ Oregon
- November 6th (Friday) – Colorado
- November 14th – @ Utah
- November 21st – UCLA
- November 27th (Friday) – @ WSU
- December 5th – @ USC
Even though there’s still just the one BYE week built in, the conference assures everyone that there’s plenty of opportunities to reschedule games if the shit hits the fan (there is, for instance, an off-week for the entire conference between the December 5th games and the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 18th).
Kind of a rough finish, with three of our final four games on the road (and four of our last six, starting with highly-rated Oregon), but I like the schedule, all things considered. With the uncertainty surrounding everything, and with a new head coach & offensive coordinator, not to mention a new starting quarterback, I like that we’re front-loaded with lots of home games against teams who are expected to be pretty easy fodder. If we can jump out to a hot start and steal that game down in Eugene, one would expect the Huskies to start to gel as a unit for a potentially-strong back-half finish.
Of course, that uncertainty I speak of isn’t just COVID-related. Apparently, there’s a significant portion of Pac-12 football players who are threatening to hold out unless their demands are met. These demands include reasonable things like confirming proper health & safety protocols are outlined and followed through on, ensuring scholarships are honored if players decide to opt out due to health concerns, and quite frankly, not being punished for retaining an agent, earning money for their own likenesses/images, or just earning money PERIOD. I mean, everyone loves to tout the free market and capitalism and all of that, yet we have these kids who are creating billions of dollars in wealth for universities and the NCAA as an entity, and they’re not allowed to sell autographs or even get jobs all in the name of getting a “free education”? How many of these kids are even able to eventually profit off of that education? A minuscule number of these players will go on to the NFL (an even smaller percentage will go on to be multi-millionaires from that endeavor); what about the rest?
The NCAA has been so backward-thinking for so long. If they hadn’t dug in their heels so hard and just conceeded some things – just let them earn fucking money in legitimate ways, so there’s not all of this sneaking around (which leads to getting caught, getting punished, and sanctions for both the players in questions and their schools) – we wouldn’t be in this position now. Granted, there’s no way 50% of all revenue is going to the players; some of their other demands are pretty unlikely to be met as well. But, negotiations always start out far apart before a consensus is made. The point is, the NCAA could’ve had it easy if they hadn’t been so strict about these kids being considered amateurs; they could’ve just let the kids earn money on the side. Now, they’re going to HAVE to share in the revenue they generate, which is going to cost them so much more.
The timing is unfortunate, obviously, because training camp is supposed to start soon. But, then again, the timing is perfect if you want decisive action from the conference and the NCAA as a whole. Hold their feet to the fire, make a dent in this corrupt system, and then seriously let’s play some football. You don’t have to change the entire system in one offseason. Keep chipping away at it until we get to a point where neither side is happy (instead of only the players being the ones feeling screwed over all the time).
I guess my biggest question – which will presumably come out in the upcoming days and weeks – is how united are the players? And, how willing will the schools be to use their significant leverage against guys who hold out? The optics would be bad, obviously, if programs started pulling (or even threatening to pull) scholarships (we’re looking at you, new WSU head coach guy!). But, presumably universities could argue that there are thousands upon thousands of football players who would LOVE to have those spots on bigtime college football teams.
Another question that looms pretty large is: will players from other conferences join the movement? The SEC presumably has the lion’s share of the very best football players in the game today; you’d think, if nothing else, they’d be interested in some of that revenue sharing. If the SEC players got involved, then we’d really be talking about something, because those fans are RABID for their college football! If SEC games were threatened, some action might really be taken!
That’s what has to be tough about all of this: unity. These are young kids, most of whom aren’t necessarily mature enough to understand all of the ins and outs of this. Naturally, they’re being led by adults who, surely, also have their own interests at heart; so, while they might be good people helping student athletes, there’s no way they won’t also benefit from these kids in some way to further their careers. College football careers are short, by design; new kids are coming in every year. Maybe the NCAA takes a hit for a year to nip this sort of thing in the bud, just to make a point that they’re not going to cave on this issue.
At which point, it stands to reason, someone has to come in with an alternative option for big time football players (and basketball players, for that matter) who don’t want to go to school for a few years before going pro (or lesser-touted kids who just don’t want to go to school period). There can’t be this monopoly – orchestrated by the professional leagues and the NCAA – controlling these kids’ lives, where the only other option is to sit out of their sports entirely.
I, of course, just want to watch college football, in whatever shape or form it ends up taking when the dust settles. Once again, I implore cooler heads to prevail so we can focus on what’s going on on the field, and not so much all of this other stuff.
And, to fans – or outsiders who don’t give a shit about college football, but want to throw their opinions around – who are crushing these kids and keep throwing out the tired argument that their free educations are payment-enough, wake the fuck up. You are losing this argument, it’s only a matter of time. It’s interesting to me, once again, the same people touting a free market and the value of capitalism are against these players – who are predominantly Black – from getting their small slice of the pie. Oh, I’m sure “you’re not racist” and “some of your best friends” are whoever, but you know your true colors are showing.
Answer these questions:
- Do you work for the NCAA?
- Do you work for a university?
- Are your lives affected in any way by these players earning a living while going to college and playing for the teams you ostensibly root for?
- Or are you just resentful because your lives didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, and you’re taking out your frustration by harboring these ugly beliefs in the hopes that you’ll sound smarter than you really are, while your ultimate goal is to make those you’re arguing with just as miserable as you are?
So many things people get angry about on the Internet don’t actually have any impact on their lives whatsoever. Instead of being mad all the time, shit man, get a hobby or something! Take up knitting, buy a punching bag, take a VCR Repair class! Or, you can do what I do: start a little-read sports blog and berate people into thinking the way you do.
Wait, where was I going with this?
Oh yeah, Husky football! It’s coming back maybe!