Michigan State welcomes freshmen athletes in four sports on campus today. Are they in for some kind of indoctrination. It can be intimidating enough when everything is going well. But these rookie collegians have much to learn in a short period of time and it won’t be easy battling the pandemic let alone other veterans on their various teams.
Michigan State has now tested its athletes on campus twice and two more who were tested earlier this week tested positive. That’s now three athletes and they go into quarantine. Will the number grow or not and when these athletes return will it be a problem with their teammates? These are all issues that must be determined prior to any fall season being expected to take place.
If golf is struggling with the covid virus right now—and several players and caddies have now tested positive—what happens when the contact sports go back at it. Just because baseball has 60 games and the playoffs scheduled in my view it’s no lock any of them will fully complete competition through the end of this year. The virus has not left us yet and no vaccine has been produced so the obstacles to sports remain to handle.
You wonder if the NCAA won’t soon convince all major football schools to just throw their hands up and try football and the winter sports later on this school year—football in the spring, the NCAA basketball tournament late spring in to June. Even if games are played this fall the hassles will be many and the financial issues will simply grow. I make it 50-50 football gets played as scheduled this fall given the current issues. We’ll see.
None of these pro sports league is back yet and none definitively and even the NFL has question marks about the start of its season. It’s a Covid virus year and the sports landscape has not been sorted out yet and who knows if it will be any time soon.
Expectations are much different in Las Vegas for Michigan and Michigan State’s football teams for the coming seasons. Michigan State is 100 to one to win the Big Ten title, can’t ever remember less expectations. Both of them need help at quarterback replacing starters. Michigan believes it has the answer in either Dylan McCaffrey or Joe Milton. Michigan State is replacing Brian Lewerke, the starter on average teams. To have good seasons both teams in my view, must find answers at quarterback among other positions.
I’m sure Tom Izzo joins me in believing the most controversial NCAA rule on the books is the transfer rule. Athletes are supposed to sit out a season upon transfer and not immediately play—unless they can gain a waiver. And this week Marquette got such a waiver for basketball standout D. J. Carton, incoming from Ohio State. Marquette’s Joey Hauser transferred to Michigan State a year ago and had to sit out last season because he couldn’t come up with waiver approval from the NCAA to Izzo’s disgust. Like I say the rule should be simple—you transfer, you sit out a year, no exceptions, period.
No Big Ten marching bands at road games? That’s what may well happen this fall. Imagine Michigan’s band not paying at the Michigan State or Ohio State road games! But the economic issues facing college sports are more than just the athletic departments themselves. The bands at both Michigan and Michigan State may not travel for several years and they may have reduced ranks at home games this fall if games are played in the first place.
All the upcoming Michigan State athletic department budget cuts? I’m guessing the most notable area for the non revenue sports will be in scheduling with a far more regional look—and therefore more bus trips and a big cutback in airplane travel both commercial and charter. Won’t be as noticeable in the big sports, but non revenue, big cuts coming which we’ll all recognize in my view.
With college athletes on campuses, especially in the Big Ten, how much can teams really accomplish? No formal practice sessions per se, just work outs. Michigan State football needs practice sessions and coach Mel Tucker has to hope the NCAA gives each team 12 extra days of workouts next month which it is considering. Stay tuned.
Big day in the Big Ten—fall athletes can report and at Michigan State every moment is precious for new football coach Mel Tucker who has not seen his players even work out yet. MSU has a long way to go in a short period of time so beginning today these meeting days, even though they are not normal practice sessions, in my view, are crucial.
Michigan State may not lose any or no more than pitcher Mason Erla in the major league draft—but then things change beginning Sunday morning. Beginning at 9am undrafted free agents can sign with any team for $20,000. Michigan State usually loses juniors who give up their senior year to try pro ball and in my view it has hurt the Spartans in years past since they have not won a Big Ten baseball title since 2010. Losing players early has been key and that could be the case again once free agents can sign, again beginning Sunday.
Nearly 200 players will be chosen in the major league amateur draft which begins tonight—among them could be Michigan State junior pitcher Mason Erla. He is considered a hot prospect and reminds me of Mark Mulder who went on to a terrific major league career. Erla has speed, is a power pitcher and was off to a great start in MSU’s abbreviated season when play was halted but he should get chosen somewhere among the five rounds.
You like baseball, you get a sense of it tomorrow and Thursday with the Major League draft. The Detroit Tigers choose first and likely will take slugger Spencer Torkelsen. Only five rounds this year, usually 40 and how the minor league teams in the future will amply be stocked with players remains to be seen in my view.
No need for the Pistons to resume their season—so it’s wait til next year. Why are they looking for a general manager, why have they not had one? That doesn’t seem like a well oiled machine to me and the Pistons’ record the past few years adds to that thinking I have.
The NBA is proposing an October draft. That would be brutally tough for college teams trying to determine their rosters next season. Who is available and who is not? Michigan State has two players in the draft at the moment, Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry. So Tom Izzo won’t know of their availability until right before the season begins? That would be tough.
Here’s hoping the July 8 girls softball all star doubleheader can be played at Ranney Park. Eaton Rapids faces some all stars in the first game at 6 o’clock followed by a true all star game. It likely will be the first live sporting event in greater Lansing since the state boys high school basketball district semi finals on March 12th. More than 60 girls are due to take part which at least in a small way will keep from the entire senior softball season from being wiped out.
This is the 10th anniversary of Armando Gallaraga’s near perfect game for the Detroit Tigers. Umpire Jim Joyce made an erroneous call on a ground ball that would have ended the game and Gallaraga would have gone into historical baseball lore. This was before replay. Replay would have overturned such a call. And that’s why in the big picture replay is good for sports and would have made that game one for the ages.
The announcements by Michigan State and Michigan this week that students will be on campus this fall beginning in August, indicates football has a much better chance of being played. That was necessary and it appears that’s the goal although in my view much can still change, for better or worse over the next two months prior to August practice.
The NFL owners vote today on whether to amend onside kicks for next season. Teams can choose the conventional way or on two occasions have a 4th and 15 situation at their own 25 yard line hoping to pick up a first down. If you’re a Lions fan do you on side kick or let Matthew Stafford try to pass for the first down? The Lions may have to try such tactics next season since they are behind so often late in games.
One of the biggest issues for high school football this fall is not the pandemic—it’s money! The school districts will likely be hurting when the state passes out money and extra curricular activities like sports may well get hurt depending on the district. And pay to play may be mandatory and if it is high, how many parents won’t be able to afford it after going through financial issues of their own this year from the virus? Food for thought and not very pleasant in my view either.
The NCAA needs to help its member schools dropping sports because of virus revenue concerns. The minimum number of sports is 16 to stay division one. I’d eliminate that number completely. Quantity to me is not a big a deal as quality and many mid major schools will struggle to field 16 sports moving forward. Central Michigan is at 16 after dropping men’s track and field yesterday and CMU has five men’s sports considered too few. How will the NCAA respond? Stay tuned.
I don’t know how the colleges will exactly play the games, but I’m certain some how some way football will be played in the coming school year, just for the monetary reasons alone. With estimates by some schools of being down $75 million in revenue without football many wouldn’t even stay in business with such a hit. Believe me one way or another, even playing in the spring, football will be seen at colleges whether the format changes a great deal or just a little, for the main reason that the cash it would provide is mandatory.
I don’t know if college football will be played this fall but if it is I predict chaos everywhere. It’s because the 130 division one schools all have a different vision of how things might work. There will be hassles everywhere and for sure I see schedules getting amended during the season for one reason or another. Believe me chaos this fall, college football, book it.