Party on! Ducks to play football this year, adding Covid threat to usual harms

Update: President Trumps offers us his congratulations, and wants our thanks for making the Pac-12 do this:

9/24/2020: That’s the rumor from the staff who have already started cleaning the ash out of Autzen, and who were told sorry those antigen tests are not for you. The Pac-12 announcement will be at 5 tonight. Presumably they’ve got enough sense not to allow fans into the stadium or the parking lots, so all the good parties will be at the frats.

If the Pac-12 schools will release that testing data, this should lead to an easy new pub for UO economist Glen Waddell and a few grad students, following up on Glen’s earlier work on how home football games hurt academic performance:

Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?

Jason M. Lindo Isaac D. Swensen, Glen R. Waddell

We consider the relationship between collegiate football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades, and only in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving. (JEL I21, L83)

Or maybe Lindo (now at Texas A&M) will beat him to it with a follow up to this:

College Party Culture and Sexual Assault

By Jason M. Lindo, Peter Siminski, and Isaac D. Swensen*

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17–24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17–24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.

And here’s Pres Schill’s announcement, which he hopes you will construe as good news despite all the evidence that it’s not:

Dear University of Oregon community,

I am writing with what I hope is some good news during these challenging times. Earlier today, I and the other presidents of the Pac-12 universities voted to resume some collegiate athletic programs — specifically football, men’s and women’s basketball, and other winter sports. Practice can commence immediately, and the seasons will get started in November. Fans will not be permitted at games initially, but the conference will revisit that issue in early 2021.

I and the other presidents have insisted throughout the process that the health and safety of our student-athletes must be our top priority. [sic] That was the primary reason we voted unanimously to pause the season earlier this summer. At that time, our medical experts expressed a good deal of doubt about whether we could sufficiently protect student-athletes from both the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. In the ensuing weeks, however, the conference has bolstered its testing capabilities so that all conference members can institute daily testing of student-athletes, paid for and provided by the Pac-12. That enhanced ability to test has shifted the balance and led medical experts to advise us that our programs can move forward with practice and competition consistent with our commitment to health and safety.

In addition, we have recently received new information [We heavily lobbied Gov. Brown who is term-limited and needs more of Uncle Phil’s money to advance her political career] from state officials in Oregon and California that opened the door for a return to competition under strict health and safety guidelines. I am grateful to Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health for looking closely at the issue, examining the rigorous health and safety plans that have been put in place, and clearing the way for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University to resume some collegiate sports.

Even though we will not be able to cheer the Ducks in person at Autzen Stadium or Matthew Knight Arena — at least for now — I am excited about what the resumption of athletics means for the Pac-12 and the University of Oregon. It’s certainly not about money; all of the Pac-12 programs, including Oregon, will still face multi-million-dollar shortfalls under this resumption plan. [He either thinks we are idiots or doesn’t care what we think. Probably both.]

No, it is about something bigger — hope. [My god who writes this crap.] As we all face the challenges posed by COVID-19, continue to wrestle with the scourge of systemic racism in our society, and face an incredibly polarized national election, I believe sport can help unite our community, be a boost in morale, and give us something to cheer for during some pretty dark days.

Our student-athletes are begging us to let them play, [in fact they’ll do it for nothing, given hat the NCAA cartel has destroyed their other options] our fans miss the excitement of game day, and this resumption plan is at least a small step toward a return to normalcy.

Over the last week, I have consulted with our shared governance partners [I held a secret meeting of the IAAC, despite the Senate legislation that promised their meetings would be public] as well as a broad set of UO faculty members, staff, and students. [And of course Rob Mullens, who reminded me his coaches need the money for baby shoes] I would like to thank them for their advice and counsel on this issue. It certainly helped shape my views on this decision. [Which again was all about hope and safety and had nothing to do with the money.]

Thank you.Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

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32 Responses to Party on! Ducks to play football this year, adding Covid threat to usual harms

  1. Presumptive Idiot says:

    ESPN has it as a seven game conference beginning Nov. 6. https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/29964509/source-pac-12-play-seven-game-slate-starting-november

    All this while I hear word of internal discussion and deep concern over the already rising numbers.

  2. Richard Bohloff says:

    Schillus Maximus hides behind his practiced smile as he oversees the grand works at his colliseum. He slowly turns his thumb down as his gladiators enter the arena. It matters not to him whether they survive, only that the promised entertainment be provided to the masses.

  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Students are coming back — interesting that many wear masks but then don’t distance — they need indoctrination …

  4. uomatters says:

    Trump tweets congrats to Pac-12 fans, thinks he deserves the credit that Schill is claiming for giving “us something to cheer for”: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1309297061871800322

  5. New Year Cat says:

    “As we all face the challenges posed by COVID-19, continue to wrestle with the scourge of systemic racism in our society, and face an incredibly polarized national election, I believe sport can help unite our community, be a boost in morale, and give us something to cheer for during some pretty dark days.” You have to be fucking kidding me. The fact that athletes can get daily covid tests while front line workers on campus can go whistle up the wind for one does not give me a whole lot of hope.

    • honest Uncle Gangsta says:

      Poor Schill, he has to “wrestle with the scourge of systemic racism in our society” whilst dealing with covid on the field and the perceived inequity of “student-athletes” jumping ahead in line for quick covid tests.

      This man is heroic, but he is too modest to let us know. We cannot possibly say enough to honor his greatness.

      I say a big raise is in order, and this time, no give backs for scholarships. — no Schillarships — this one’s for you, Mike!

  6. uomatters says:

    Note to commenters: Given the situation I am temporarily removing the normal one cuss word per comment limit, for anything having to do with the Pac-12.

  7. I want football says:

    Thank you PAC12 for courage, thank you UO president for leadership, and thank you Donald Trump for thinking about us and providing moral support. Finally, pleople get what they want: entertainment, players get what they want: to play, and many good caputalists will make good money. Life is getting back to normal. Go Ducks!

  8. BSchill says:

    Schill’s BS is off the Richter scale. Doing it for “hope” and the “student athletes.” Gag, it’s for the big bucks and uncle Phil. How will anyone believe anything he says after this? Will they cancel if the pandemic gets worse? Nope. Local covid numbers are already heading through the roof. Didn’t they just say no in person classes because not enough tests. Guess all the tests went to the football team. Priorities.

  9. Publius says:

    This is completely irresponsible, since the athletic department shows no interest in whether its athletes understand and abide by safety rules and respect the health of the community,

    My wife and I were in the Safeway on 18th Ave. several days ago when there was a disturbing incident that almost led to the police being called. A large number of football players arrived pretty much at the same time, One suspects they had just received their food stipends, and proceeded to flood the store with people either wearing no masks at all or laughingly flaunting how they were covering their noses but not their mouths, etc. Big joke.

    There was a group of senior citizens getting their flu shots that were especially distressed about this. No adults from the athletic department were in evidence.

    I complained to the man at the pharmacy, who told me to talk to customer service, who told me they were finding additional people to cope with the situation but had already talked to the police. I can’t vouch for the truth of this since he was obviously doing damage control.

    But anyone living near the university has reason to be distressed whether our impending flood of athletes, their supporters, etc. will be given any direction about safe behavior in their community. Maybe someone can get assurances about this from the administration.

  10. Old Gray Mare says:

    First grace now hope. Taking bets for the next abstraction: charity?

  11. charlie says:

    Two questions. If infection numbers reach a benchmark, don’t public institutions, including ADs, shut down?

    Second, with this announcement of an attenuated football schedule, does this mean season ticket holders can’t ask for refunds, even if games are later cancelled?

    • Quackery says:

      Two more questions. One, What are the names of the “medical experts” consulted? Two, how do you file a complaint to their licensing boards about Duck Doctor quackery?

  12. Jessica Summe says:

    Love It. Thank you Mr. President! Another 4 yrs will be great. All the Bernie Bros crying now.

  13. I want football says:

    The folks who comment on this blog puzzle me. Why are you guys so negative about UO football? It is not just in this case, but in general? Think about it this way: literally, everybody is happy about PAC12 decision. Players really want to play. They love the game. Most of those players who are happy to resume playing are poor black kids for whom football might be the only opportunity in life. If you think they are here for education then you go to a night club for food. Public is happy: we love to watch how big strong guys hit each other real hard. Evolutionary psychology has all the explanations you need for why we like it. Universities – especially “no-name” ones like UO – get national attention and a piece of glory. Every major conference is either playing already or will be playing soon. Media love it. A lot of taxpayers make good money.. and so on and so forth… Even Donald Trump loves it. And then there are folks on this blog who hate the idea. This is the only place in the universe where football resumption has not been embraced with enthusiasm. Why?

    • Canard says:

      Because it is one of the few places on the internet which is not dominated by fucking idiots?

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      It’s because the football players are doing most of the things you’re not supposed if you want to stop the virus. Heavy grunty breathing, close quarters, literally in your face, extended time of contact. The only good thing is it’s outdoors, at least the games. But if everyone behaved this way, we’d have had two million dead by now.

      It’s probably not a big risk to them, but it is when it gets spread to the “vulnerable.” (Oh, we must protect the vulnerable, clasp hands and look to heaven.)

      If they had rapid frequent testing — but let’s have it for everyone — and well enforced quarantine for the positives — then it might be OK.

    • Fishwrapper says:

      You typed, literally, everybody is happy about PAC12 decision.

      No, I am not. And, believe it or don’t, my existence fits in the subset of “everybody,” so you are wrong. None of the athletics enterprises generates enough revenue to pay for their operations; now, revenues will be down (no fans) and expenses will be up (extensive testing) so that the damage will be fiscally greater than shelving a year’s competitions.

      Why spend all the extra money to test athletes while there is not enough money to test students, faculty, and staff with the same frequency?

      Just two reason I am not happy with this decision. It is a fiscally irresponsible decision with the optics of placing more value on athletes than students. Football is but the leading edge of this irresponsible action – all athletics should take the year off.

    • charlie says:

      Are you not aware of the financial calamity several Pac12 schools find themselves in because of football? Wazzu’s AD is projected to have a $103 million dollar deficit within the next few years. CAL is hemorrhaging money because of their idiotic football stadium buildout. USC’ is tens of millions of dollars overbudget overhauling the Coliseum. UCLA’s AD budget is deep in the red, as is ASU. But, according to your thinking, if big guys engage in brain damaging collisions, then all is okay. According to you, football players don’t care about academics. But I doubt many students, faculty and alums are as sanguine regarding the collapse of academic quality. The WSJ places the flagship at the bottom of the Pac12 in terms of academics, in large part because the school doesn’t commit enough resources for student outcome. And that’s to be ignored as long as you’re distracted a few fall weekends.

      Further, your claim that players are overjoyed playing this game is made moot when you realize many Pac12 players were organizing in order to get heath insurance extensions, covid protection, paid for the use of their likenesses, and a piece of the financial action which they’re currently not receiving. If you had paid any attention, you’d realize that, in fact, players aren’t overjoyed, they’re fed up with what they’re having to endure so a few obtuse individuals can claim ridiculous cliches. For you to make your claims requires a tenuous grasp on reality….

    • Townie says:

      This whole saga has showed us once more that big time college sports do not belong on a university campus.

      Furthermore, academic administrators are generally incapable of leading large complex institutions. They are very good at getting railroaded by boosters, coaches, ADs, etc.

      As an aside: I strongly believe that if UO’s football program was weaker the public would perceive it has being a more serious university.

  14. Bread and Circuses says:

    So did some horrid little actuary perform the calculus of lawsuit from a player death versus money lost from no football and determine seven games are needed?

    On a different note, I hope JH does not waste faculty time by asking us to fill out any more surveys on the kind of support we need again.

    • uomatters says:

      On behalf of these “horrid little actuaries” – including some of my best econ undergrads – I demand an immediate retraction, Panem et Circenses.
      .
      It’s true that recent recognition of the long term risks to our athletes from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and the associated lawsuits, have driven up the cost of UO’s insurance, The Covid risks will presumably do the same. However, the incorporation of these risks into the cost structure of big-time Duck sports – to the extent that our President and Trustees can’t foist them off on the academic side – is to the credit of those “horrid little actuaries” as you so callously call them. What would you have them do – hide the true costs so Rob Mullens and his gang can collect even more blood money?

      • Bread and Circuses says:

        Sincerest apologies, sir! I did not mean to demean all those drawn to the actuarial sciences, just this one. What a dismal science.

    • I want football says:

      I dare to say that there is much higher probability of dying from laughing at this blog’s comments than player dying from covid. So, if I were Bill I would buy a good insurance policy before allowing this crowd to post those jokes as comments. I wonder if those commenters realize how they look from the outside. Every university president, every AD, every player in every major conference embrace the return of football. There are no dissenters. Not a single one. And you, guys complain about Michael. But do you really believe that Stanford (or any other great school) president depends so much upon football donors, that he is willing to screw its students? All schools are playing: good, bad, really bad, UO etc… . Everyone is happy, and then there is this blog. So funny to see a handful of disgruntled dissidents thinking that they know better. The truth is that college football is an integral part of American culture. It is in part what makes us Americans. As a nation we love college football, and it is a part of our identity. So, get life if you can, and remember that McDonalds – another piece of American culture- with its food is killing way more Americans every year than football and covid together

      • uomatters says:

        Thanks General Patton, for expanding on your remarks from 1945: https://youtu.be/zuaHZo38Ip4?t=81

        Patton:

        … Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit.

        Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.

        You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

        When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards.

        Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American. …

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