Texas Tech Football Notebook: Big 12 to Possibly Decide Today; Coordinators Patterson & Yost Speak

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Monday night is always my night to take my son to soccer practice. Normally in the evening, I’m writing for the next day, but being away, that can’t happen. Of course last night was a ridiculous night of news. The two coordinators spoke for 48 minutes and then there was all of the business about playing football. We’ll take the later part first and see how far we get.

If anyone says that they can’t figure out how we can send students back to campus, but can’t let them play football. Or some similar argument. You’re not seeing the forest through the trees.

The problem isn’t the players getting COVID-19, it’s what happens when a player dies as a direct result of playing a sport that makes so much money. The damages and the lawsuit practically writes itself. Not only that, I doubt there is insurance available to protect an entity from this and my guess is that it would be too expensive anyway.

So a player contracts the coronavirus and can trace it to a football activity, the player suffers and then dies and the attorneys will be lining up to file the wrongful death lawsuit against the football program and athletic department. If you think that the impending doom surrounding the program is bad now, then try following a program that is bankrupt because of a wrongful death lawsuit. Or even multiple lawsuits.

That’s why there is a decision to be made. It’s not about going back to school or playing football, it’s the repercussions afterward. And this isn’t really a problem with other sports because those other sports don’t earn as much money, thus less liability. I’m not going to sue my coach for holding practices because my damages are pretty well set. Maybe a court and a jury would ultimately decide that the player knew the risk and could not recover any damages, but most of the time, a lawsuit like that settles and doesn’t go to jury. The risk of a huge judgment or no judgment at all is significant on both sides.

tl;dr: It’s not necessarily the health and safety, it’s the lawsuits. Lawyers ruin everything.

I’d also add that when a story pops up and it’s wrong and we all say that, “Welp, the media got that one wrong . . . AGAIN.” And sometimes these institutions leak information and float out a test balloon to test public perception. Sometimes the media is wrong, but sometimes it is all intentional.

I was busy all morning yesterday and felt like I missed a ton. I was at soccer and felt like I missed a lifetime. How about a bullet-pointed list of news from yesterday:

  • ESPN: The Mountain West is postponing its fall sports until the spring because of the coronavirus. That’s a pretty big domino and one that is bigger than the MAC in my opinion.
  • ESPN: The Big Ten is set to decide today as to whether or not they will postpone the season. Sauces (intentional misspelling) said that the Big Ten presidents said that they would vote to postpone the season, but who knows what will happen.
  • The Mercury News: The Pac-12 is set to cancel the 2020 season on Tuesday, which is supposed to mirror the Big Ten. The quote in the story is that the Pac-12 and Big Ten “move in lockstep”.
  • ESPN: Scott Frost and Nebraska are determined to play football, heck or high water, saying that if the Big Ten cancels the season, “we’re prepared to look at any and all options”. There is the thought that Nebraska could play with the Big 12 if the Big Ten cancels the season and the Big 12 continues their season
  • Sportico: This whole #WeWantToPlay and the idea of a player union is really not something that can happen. “In contrast, state labor law determines whether a public university worker is an employee and whether (and under what conditions) employees can unionize. State laws vary widely, with some states adopting so-called “right to work” policies that limit or prohibit employees from unionizing.” So, right now, the #WeWantToPlay is a hashtag, not a union because legally that can’t happen, especially in right to work states like Texas.
  • Sports Illustraded: The Big 12 is split about what to do, which should not be a surprise.

Incredibly long interviews with defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and offensive coordinator David Yost. I would like to summarize the pressers, but I’ve spent my time rounding up news.

I’d add that they are both enjoyable to listen to. Patterson sounds excited and I think he is excited about the improvement in the secondary, particularly what the transfers bring to the table. Patteson had a ton of praise for Riko Jeffers as well. Yost said that the depth is just better than it was last year and that they’ve had a ton of mistake-free snaps. A question was asked about Bowman and he said that he looked like a veteran (he was not asked about the other quarterbacks so he didn’t answer). And Yost talked a lot about how the depth is just better, particularly at tight end and talked about how Seth Collins could be a significant player moving forward. Also talked about the offensive line at the end, which was good to get some idea about where players are lining up.

I’ll write more about this tonight and summarize this evening.


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