The Wolverine

September 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 28 of 51

SEPTEMBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 29 since I've been working since mid- March. I guess I'll take a vacation dur- ing football season, and that's really, really weird. "Your body clock is geared toward, end of July, you're going to be going to the Big Ten meetings. August, camp starts, and you're going to Ann Arbor all the time. September, you're going to football games. "It's going to be really different — re- ally different." Karsch: "I'm going to make the most of it. I'm going to miss college football as much as anyone. Honestly, it's part of my soul. I love college football. "I'm going to spend more time up north, enjoying the fall colors. I'm go- ing to be on the golf course more. If we can play fall baseball, I'm going to help coach my son's team. I'm going to find a way to tailgate in my driveway and watch playoff baseball or something. "We're going to make the most of it. Spend more time with the family, and treasure it even more when it comes back in the fall of 2021. "It's tough, but I'm not going to mope." Sang: "I will probably be watch- ing soccer, fortunately. I was thinking about what I would do in the fall with- out college football. My friends have gotten into European soccer, so maybe I'll take a look at that and adopt a team to root for. "I've been watching a lot of basket- ball lately. I don't know. It's going to be weird. "Watching college football on Sat- urdays has been part of my life since I was about six or seven. That's the thing I look forward to. I guess there are worse things to have to deal with, and other sports to watch. It will suck, but I will make the best of it." The Wolverine: What will be the lasting effects of the shutdown on the Big Ten and beyond? Bastock: "The biggest question I have, going forward, is recruiting. If other conferences do end up playing, I think that's going to affect the recruit- ing landscape for a while, especially with top-flight recruits. "You're now going to have to justify this decision, and I think it will be in the back of their mind. It's something that has the ability to snowball. "On a wider scale, obviously, we've seen players find their collective voice. They're even asking for the future for- mation of a players' association at the college level. I'm not convinced that, af- ter all this, that's just going to go away. "I definitely think this is a turning point in the sport as a whole, regardless of which teams play or do not." Chengelis: "It's going to be cata- strophic for so many athletic depart- ments. I've talked to athletic directors who have said you go out searching for loans. "For Michigan, I think they can sur- vive a year without football. They've got the money available, and they've had some pay cuts. They're going to have to furlough people. I don't know how you keep people on staff for a football season that's not happening, and fall sports seasons that aren't hap- pening. "It's going to be really hard for a lot of small schools to recover from this. You're going to see sports cut at dif- ferent universities. I don't think that's going to happen at Michigan, but after a year, if this is lingering, then you're talking about, wow, how are all these schools going to survive? "Right now, you're looking at the smaller schools and wondering, will we see them playing in all of these sports going forward?" Karsch: "It's impossible to tell. If other conferences play, and it has a tragic impact on the lives of student- athletes, the Big Ten might look like the gold standard of college athletics. If the other conferences play and have absolutely no problems — and there's just no predicting it — then it could be a setback. "I'm going to say this out loud, pub- licly. I like [Ohio State head coach] Ryan Day's idea of starting the first Saturday in January, and playing an eight-game schedule. There are nine Saturdays in January and February, and you can be done. The players can prepare for the draft, and the players that are coming back have March, April, May, June, July off, if they're going to have a spring season, or in Ryan Day's idea, a winter season. "Then the Big Ten might have no hic- cups. But what you asked me is impos- sible to predict. "What is it? Sept. 4, 2021, Michigan hosts Western Michigan. I'm counting the days." Sang: "There are so many variables, I don't know if I would be able to say right now. I can say this: if in the un- likely scenario that the other three Power Five conferences move forward, and they make it through an entire season, Michigan and other Big Ten schools might struggle going forward to recruit in the next two years. "Other conferences would be able to say, 'Look, we cared about football more. We made the path. They don't care about football.' "I'm not saying that messaging would be right, morally or factually, but I could certainly see that happen- ing. I could see it having an impact on recruits. "But in the scenario that there's no football played, I really can't see how it would hurt the Big Ten. They were ahead of this. They made a decision people might disagree with, but people can at least understand why they did this. "It really depends on how the other conferences shake out. There are other variables, too. Let's say the Big Ten does have a spring season. There's been no word on whether early enrollees get to play or not, but let's say they do get to play. Then you have Big Ten schools saying, 'Come play for us, and you can play two years in one. You can get the ball started on your career by playing in the spring and in the fall.' That would be a pretty enticing pitch. "I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. There are all hypothetical sce- narios, but there are a lot of ways this thing can go." ❏ Doug Karsch, WXYT-FM 97.1 The Ticket radio host and Michigan football radio broadcast sideline reporter "If other conferences play, and it has a tragic impact on the lives of student-athletes, the Big Ten might look like the gold standard of college athletics. If the other conferences play and have absolutely no problems — and there's just no predicting it — then it could be a setback [for the Big Ten]."

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