by Kerry Dougherty

Here’s an unsurprising, entirely predictable tale.

On Monday, The Virginian-Pilot published a story headlined, “With Few Students and No Fall Sports Business Dries Up Around ODU.”

Businesses near the campus of ODU have been through mandated closures and restrictions on their capacity, but the fall semester has brought with it more trouble: no sporting events and a decreased student presence on campus.

Yep, college towns around the country are suffering as students attend online classes and even those on campus are limiting their social activities. The Pilot reports that 58% of ODU students are entirely online this year.

Not good for local businesses.

Making matters worse, of course, was ODU’s boneheaded decision to cancel football this year.

What may have seemed like a swell idea to some nervous school administrators on August 10, turned out to be a huge fumble.

Perhaps ODU brass thought they’d lead the way in making this bold decision to scrap the school’s most popular sport. If so, no one in the conference followed.

On Sept. 4, ODU President John Broderick and ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig co-authored a piece in The Washington Post, “Why Cancelling Our Football Season Was An Easy Decision,” in which they declared, “If it was a good decision to cancel sports in the spring, we believe it’s the same good decision now.”

Oh, please.

There were many unknowns in March when sports and classes were cancelled around the country. By summer, however, it was well known that the virus posed little risk to college-aged students and athletes. In fact, data from the CDC shows that COVID-19 is less dangerous than the seasonal flu for those under the age of 40. Many of the so-called outbreaks are clusters of positive tests rather than sick students.

As it turned out, ODU ended up being one of just three FBS schools not playing football this fall. The Monarchs are in terrible company, too, with UConn and New Mexico State, a SunBelt conference school that has a reputation of making much of its money by getting beat up by big football programs looking for cupcake games.

While some were making dire predictions about COVID outbreaks murdering the fall football schedule, the delayed season has gone off better than expected with a handful of postponements due to the virus.

Because of the decision to scrap football, Monarch fans can turn on their TVs on Saturday and watch any of the remaining 13 schools in C-USA playing to various size crowds depending on the state. Marshall, with its storied program, leads the conference.

Of course, even if ODU were playing football, Governor Ralph Northam’s arbitrary limit of 1,000 fans would hardly revitalize the Hampton Boulevard business corridor. It would, however, provide Norfolk a welcome slice of normalcy in a year punctuated by panic and hysteria.

Despite smaller, socially distanced crowds and little tailgating, college football is fun this year. A happy distraction from politics and the pandemic.

Sadly, Monarch fans are on the outside looking in.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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15 responses to “ODU’s Fumble”

  1. The COVID Equation:
    Here are the facts:

    NC State @ Lane = 1, 000 attendance
    + Hokies @ UNC = 3,535 attendance
    + Miami @ Clemson, SC = 18,885 attendance
    + Gators @ Texas A&M = 24, 709 attendance
    + W.H.O. Report: STOP Lockdowns as primary virus control method*

    Follow the science, not the capricious mandated dictates [from dictators]


  2. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    I thought they were using fear/ panic/ shaming as the primary control method.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      It is very much about the election, too. Polling still indicates a widespread level of fear that could even be called terror, fed by the media, allowing the Blue Team to accuse the Red Team of wanting to kill everybody. I stand by my prediction: If the Blue Team is suddenly in charge, it will quickly pivot to restart the economy, reopen the schools….

      Just under 50% in a recent poll I saw said the economy should stay locked down until there is a vaccine. Locked down. Translation: Into 2021 at the earliest.

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        How’s the cherry Kool-Aid your fearless leader is peddling?

        Hmmm, assuming 5.5, on average, by 1.5, again on average, that’s 8.25. Now assuming twice average suburban size that’s 43,560 or a single layer is 43560/8.25 which takes 5,286… a quick calculation and…. okay, that’s 40 layers.

        Give us your address, Steve, and we’ll have the bodies delivered, and stacked 40 layers deep. 215,000 on a 1 acre lot. Given some compression, that’s 30 feet high.

        Better than an albatross.

        1. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
          Baconator with extra cheese

          Do Cuomo and Murphy get to keep their share?

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            Nah, Steve wants ’em all. Of course, how many acres is the lot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Would’t be near as deep. Some big guys with pitchforks could get ’em spread out in a couple of days.

        2. djrippert Avatar

          Ahhh … and here we have it. Nancy-Boy, the science loving liberal, suddenly has no time for science when it contradicts his leftist goals. What part of the “end the lockdowns” argument put forth by WHO officials and a bevy of other scientists don’t you understand?

          Steve is absolutely right. This disease, and the fear porn that accompanies it, will be over the day Biden is inaugurated.

          1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            No lockdown would work if the Trump idiots would wear masks and safe distance.

            Ah, herd mentality. That’s what you’ve achieved.

  3. Baconator with extra cheese Avatar
    Baconator with extra cheese

    Well the WHO has walked it back, so give them an assist for the Blue Team.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Well, gee, which side is likely to restore the major U.S. financial donation….?

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I think I know how Daniel Shay’s must have felt back in 1786.

  5. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    In January, the Boss Man told Woodward it was 5x deadlier than the flu, and that’s just about bang on. But, wait. Didn’t he say the Chinese and WHO wouldn’t give out information, or they lied? Then where’d he get that 5x stuff from?

  6. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Meh, youse guys are good strong Republicans; you’ve nothing to sweat from this. Just call your MD and reserve your dose of Regeneron and 5-day Remdesivir regimen. Tell ‘im you’re tough, keep the steroids.

    6000 medical types agree, eh? Well, doctors are fungible. Fire your therapist. Your proctologist can handle both ends.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      “No lockdown would work if the Trump idiots would wear masks and safe distance.”

      So, when 6,000 medical types say that lockdowns are counter-productive and you say that “no lockdown would work” … where is the argument?

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        6000? A whole 6000? What’s that, the 2020 graduating class of the tri-state medical schools? They’re just pissed because they wanted to wear black face to the canceled parties.

        “As of 2016, there were over 950,000 practicing physicians in the United States.”

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