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College football is chaos, and practice hasn’t even started yet

Mizzou Links for Tuesday, August 11

Players organize, the Big 10 backtracks and other conferences are scrambling to recover

PowerMizzou’s Gabe DeArmond had two good overview pieces (one for all readers, one for subscribers), so you’d probably be best served brushing up on those if you missed anything.

But in case you don’t want to leave this site (and, hey, thanks!) stick with us, because there’s a lot to cover:

We entered Monday with a general sense that things were not trending well for the 2020 season. Several reports had surfaced that the conferences had exhausted their last options and were headed for a total shutdown this week.

Then Trevor Lawrence, the sport’s biggest star, dropped this little treat on Twitter:

Along with other prominent players like Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Najee Harris, the athletes who have never really had a voice or a say in the way things are run in the NCAA, stood up and decided now was the time to exercise whatever rights they may have. Missouri’s Nick Bolton was one of them. And while you can make an argument that college athletes don’t know more about health and safety then, you know, health and safety officials, they raise some good points about why not playing would potentially endanger a lot of student-athletes.

Of course, this was all met with an expected (if maybe somewhat surprising, time-wise) news report on Monday morning:

Now, “cancelled,” is a word defined very loosely at this point. Many more reports surfaced throughout the day that, “cancellation,” isn’t so much at play as further delays. Big 10 coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Ryan Day took to Twitter to voice their frustrations as well, saying they planned to fight to play a season.

Of course, none of this has any immediate bearing on what happens to Mizzou in 2020. Only the SEC can do that. Greg Sankey responded to the rumors with a statement of his own. You can read it here, but here’s the real skinny: it’s not quite the, “yeah, we’re playing, so you can eat it,” that a lot of people want it to be. It’s quite milquetoast, in fact, leaving plenty of room for another change of course in a matter of days or weeks.

Still, all indications are that Mizzou is in no danger of losing its season, at least not in the coming days. Jim Sterk says the SEC is still working to make things happen. Eli Drinkwitz is standing behind his players, whether or not they choose to play (though he himself wants to play, obviously.)

And if that wasn’t enough, other reports say that some conferences are putting their heads down and running harder than ever.

Here’s the fact of the matter: While the day started with a pretty clear indication of where things were headed, it took a few hours to sink into the realization of the biggest news story of the day: potential player organization. For years, there’s been a clamoring (from this writer included) that players organize their labor and start to demand a seat at the table. And while the current demands don’t say anything about official employment, pay or unionization, the right to negotiate is the first step. Once that’s on the table, everything is. And if the college football season is played because of a movement sparked by players, it could very well mean the death of college sports... as we know it. Sorry, don’t want to be too dramatic.

Whether or not the college football season is played, the unimpeachable truth seems to be that the sport is changing rapidly. It may not affect this season, whenever it’s played and if it’s played. But COVID-19 has changed a lot of things about our world, and we all knew sports weren’t immune. It’s just happened to have different side effects than we originally thought.

You got all that? Well go ahead and read it again, because there’s no telling what today will bring.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • The Nuggets weren’t able to topple the struggling Lakers last night (Kyle Kuzma? Who knew?!), but it was another banner effort for Michael Porter, Jr., the breakout star of the NBA bubble. MPJ dropped 15 points on 6-6 shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from deep.

He also dropped this pretty dime.

  • Congrats to former Tiger Jonah Dubinski on his new position at Rock Bridge High School!
  • Tiger alum Jordan Chavis is ready to begin her career as a pro baller, across the Atlantic no less!
  • Mizzou’s video team has upped its game steadily over the past two years, and they casually dropped another banger on Monday amidst the college football chaos
  • Kicking ass on the diamond and in the classroom
  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)