Bruce Hooley
Bruce Hooley

Bruce Hooley was sports editor of the Troy Daily News from 1983-86 and has covered Ohio State athletics for more than 25 years. Bruce was the OSU beat reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland from 1987-2005.  From 2005-2011 he hosted the afternoon show on  ESPN radio 1460 AM,  in Columbus, before taking on a similar ESPN talk position with WKNR, 850 AM, in Cleveland.  Most recently Hooley has served as the beat reporter for Ohio State football and basketball for Sports Illustrated.com.  The author of "That's Why I'm Here:  The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story, he returns for his second chapter as Buckeye beat reporter and columnist at large with Press Pros.

CONTACT

Perspective and logic have taken a prolonged holiday, perhaps never to return — certainly not by Wednesday when the Ivy League makes its grand announcement about the future of fall sports among its membership.

What’s about to happen makes absolutely no sense, unless it’s filtered through the prism of an increasingly glaring reality:

We are living in the stupidest time in American history.

That doesn’t mean this is the worst time since our country’s founding. Eras in which we dealt with slavery, world wars, terrorist attacks, and assorted natural disasters each visited greater degrees of suffering upon some or all of the population.

But we’ve never been this collectively dumb, awash in panic over impending viral doom unsubstantiated by any measured evaluation of actual data and wallowing in discord of every conceivable sort.

Bruce Hooley writes the Buckeyes and shares his insights as columnist at large for Press Pros Magazine.com.

Perspective and logic have taken a prolonged holiday, perhaps never to return — certainly not by Wednesday when the Ivy League makes its grand announcement about the future of fall sports among its membership.

If we weren’t gripped with a collective case of cluelessness, anything the Ivy League says about intercollegiate athletics would land with the impact of a mayfly on a manure pile.

But you can bet when the high and mighty academics render their decision that it’s just too dangerous to stage athletic competitions of any sort amid a (gasp) global pandemic, the other lemmings in Division I will sit up and take notice.

Way, way too much notice.

Imagine a NASCAR racing team hiring the Soapbox Derby winner to drive its car at Daytona. That’s the equivalent of schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame and others in Power 5 finding any applicable relevance for football on their campuses with what the Ivys will surely say isn’t possible at Cambridge, Yale, Columbia or Princeton.

It will be shocking if the Ivy League decides anything other than to cancel the fall sports season entirely or simply move it to the spring.

Park National Bank supports Buckeyes sports on Press Pros Magazine.com.

That’s fine for a league that doesn’t give athletic scholarships, doesn’t pay coaches millions of dollars and doesn’t rely on successful sports seasons to pry open donors’ wallets for university capital and academic campaigns.

The top two, three of the top five, four of the top seven and five of the top 10 endowments among U.S. colleges come from the Ivy League. They live in a different economic world, free from the pressure to finance a massive athletic program that just doesn’t exist on their campuses.

No argument, they may have sports in the proper perspective in the Ivy, but this isn’t an argument about right or wrong. It’s a reality check of practical vs. impractical.

If Power 5 schools allow Princeton (above) to set the tone on whether football is played in Columbus, Ann Arbor, Austin or South Bend, it will demonstrate a glaring lack of courage from athletic directors and school administrators who up to now have enjoyed a comfortably anonymous existence.

If Power 5 schools allow the Ivy to set the tone on whether football is played in Columbus, Ann Arbor, Austin or South Bend, it will demonstrate a glaring lack of courage from athletic directors and school administrators who up to now have enjoyed a comfortably anonymous existence.

Sure, you might know Gene Smith is Ohio State’s athletic director, but you don’t really know what he does for his $2 million salary, other than occasionally hire a coach that hopefully allows him to forever afterward take a bow for that coach’s great work.

Smith is at least accountable to his own fan base. That’s rarely the case with conference commissioners, who are handsomely paid and often culpable for nothing.

Quick quiz….who’s the Big Ten commissioner?

Jim Delany?

Nope, not any more.

It’s Kevin Warren.

I know, who?

Warren, Smith and others in their positions must summon the collective courage to find a way to work with the challenges of the coronavirus and get their teams on the field.

Winners Meats are proud to sponsor coverage of the ‘MAC’ on Press Pros Magazine.

Maybe that won’t  include fans in the stands.

Maybe it won’t be for 12 regular-season games and a College Football Playoff as we have known it for the last six seasons.

But if the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and others press the Give Up button just because the Ivy League deems it too dangerous, that will confirm an egregious lack of leadership and an abundance of soft spines throughout Division I.

It takes no fortitude to join the, It’s Too Dangerous, chorus that’s mounting in the aftermath of increased positive COVID-19 tests across the country. If only someone in charge would pay a fraction of attention to the data on declining death rates that they do sorting through the minutiae of schedule strength and other factors when it comes to the argument over the battle for the last Playoff berth.

The Center for Disease Control listed 254 deaths from the virus on Saturday and 209 on Sunday, a 92% reduction in deaths from the peak of 2,749 on a late-April weekend.

It does not require a statistical expert to understand that if more people are being tested — and that’s indisputably true — more will test positive for the virus.

The fact that a lower and lower percentage of those with positive tests are dying explains why the American Society of Pediatrics recommends that kids need to be in school this fall.

It’s lazy and alarmist if the Harvard decision to hold on-line classes only this fall, and the likely decision by the rest of the Ivy to shelve sports this fall, scares Ohio State and others into a similar decision.

That would be the wrong decision for the wrong reason.

But it’s the easiest decision to make.

And we’re awash in stupid.

So don’t be surprised.

Bruce Hooley is a former sports editor of the Troy Daily News. He and College Football Hall of Famer Chris Spielman host the, We Tackle Life, podcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on iTunes or other podcast platforms.

H.A. Dorsten proudly sponsors coverage of area sports on Press Pros Magazine.com.

Share