Category Archives: College sports

One Texas university won’t give up on sports

An excerpt from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website:

The University of Texas at El Paso is urging students and faculty members to avoid coming to the campus “wherever possible,” closing the student center and campus dining for two weeks. Professors should conduct only critical aspects of classes in person, according to a Thursday letter to the campus. The changes come as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso have climbed steadily this month.

One big exception? Athletics. “UTEP athletic teams competing in their championship season will continue to practice and compete under the NCAA and Conference USA stringent testing protocols,” Heather Wilson, the university’s president, wrote.

A football game against the University of North Texas has been canceled, despite Wilson’s advocacy to keep the game scheduled. She said in a statement this week that the university had a “safe place to play” and was “disappointed” in North Texas’s decision. 

What is not clear to me is whether these “stringent testing protocols” can be made available to the entire campus — not just at UTEP but throughout the country — and are not being done (too costly?), or if there’s some special arrangement between the NCAA and its partner institutions in which it pays for these tests.

Does anyone know?

As many as 15% of college athletes with coronavirus suffer from myocarditis

An important reminder to all those people who want to “let them play.”

UPI reports

Up to 15% of college athletes experience heart inflammation after battling COVID-19, a study published Friday by JAMA Cardiology found. The unpublished results have been reported by sports media outlets for weeks.

In the analysis, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, revealed evidence of myocarditis in four of 26 football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball players as well as track and field athletes, the researchers said.

You won’t find 15% of college athletes who had the flu experiencing inflammation of the heart.

You won’t find 15% of college athletes who had a concussion experiencing inflammation of the heart.

You won’t find 15% of college athletes who had a broken bone experiencing inflammation of the heart.

I’m not advocating that college athletes stop doing what they love. I am asking that they (and all of us who call ourselves sports fans) reconsider how important their sports season is with a virus the medical community is still trying to understand.

U of Michigan eliminates 21 jobs in athletics

Throughout higher education, there’s a developing — and uncomfortable — thread: Cutting sports and jobs in athletics departments ought to be a priority in dealing with the economic fallout from coronavirus.

The argument goes something like this: Athletics is not essential to the higher education mission and therefore trimming sports and the men and women associated with that sport or from the department in general is appropriate before cutting anywhere else.

Lost in that weak sauce argument is that each of those people is being punished simply because of his or her association with sports. Imagine the outrage if people in athletics strenuously called for academic staff to be unloaded; the hue and cry would be instantaneous, and those people calling for such job cuts would instead be the ones on the unemployment line.

That’s the background to the news out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where today almost two-dozen athletic department personnel were let go by the University of Michigan.

According to the Detroit Free Press,

Athletic director Warde Manuel announced Tuesday afternoon the department is eliminating 21 positions while facing “a potential revenue loss of $100 million.”

Manuel’s revenue-loss projections came during a podcast released Tuesday. He followed up hours later with a statement publicizing a round of nearly two dozen layoffs.

No, athletics ought not be the first place to look for fiscal savings as the coronavirus pandemic drags on. The 21 people who are now former employees at Michigan hope you understand that.