“Winning is the only thing.” Probably one of the most quoted lines in sports history. Yet, the legendary Vince Lombardi, the man who said it, is often misunderstood. The line, borrowed from a John Wayne movie, Trouble Along The Way, was interpreted by many as a singular focus by a tyrannical man, to win at all costs mentality. In fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. Lombardi later clarified the statement by saying, “Winning is not the only thing, but making the EFFORT to win is.”
That is what brings us to today. With the announcement of two of the last Power 5 conference holdouts, the Big 10 beginning play October 24th, and yesterday, the announcement of the Pac 12 to begin a 7 game schedule November 6th (with a conference championship game December 18th), NCAA Division 1 football will resume in earnest.
The question for the NCAA and Lone Star Conference officials is this: Why was the season canceled so early? These first few weeks at the FCS, NFL, and high school levels all across the country have proven that games CAN BE PLAYED SAFELY. It is long past time to stop living in fear.
Let me make this clear at this point….this is not a criticism of AD Tim McMurray or head coach David Bailiff. They are only playing the cards they have been dealt. I understand, respect, and agree with the decision not to play any outside competetion given the fact that there are no fall championships in Division 2. The decision was made by the Division 2 President’s Council, and then the Lone Star Conference’s President’s Council in early August.
The decision to not hold fall championship, and in effect, cancel the season, was a decision reached in haste and without full consideration. Given the fact that football is an outdoor activity, and with an average crowd size, it is my opinion that the games could have continued with proper safety precautions, including the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, and temperature checks. These precautions have been effective at many local gyms, for example.
In the Lone Star Conference’s case, with the respect to the state of New Mexico’s decision to cancel fall sports, an all Texas schools schedule could easily be established by replacing the Eastern and Western New Mexico games with the closest conference member. For the Lions, it would be a home and home series with Midwestern and Angelo State. This would allow for a full conference schedule, and the opportunity to play for a national championship. That’s why you play. You play to win games. You play to win championships. That opportunity has been taken away from many student athletes with what I think is a rash and irrational decision.
Again, any criticism here is directed at the NCAA Division 2 President’s Council and the Lone Star Conference President’s Council. Division 2 fall sports, including football, could have and SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLAYED.
It’s time. Time to resume our normal lives. Time to stop living in fear. Life itself is a risk. Any normal every day activity has some risks. Let’s get back to normal. It’s long past time.