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Mailbag 6/10

In which we talk about turf at Bobby Dodd, kneeling during the National Anthem and Covid-19

New York Jets v San Francisco 49ers

What type of security do you have for players when one opposing crazy fan could run in your locker room and give your whole team Covid 2 days before a game?

Ben: Considering how tight security can be as it is, I find it difficult to believe some random crazy fan would be able to just run into the locker room. What they’ll need is an Oceans 11-esque break-in strategy.

Chris: This honestly hadn’t occurred to me before, but it’s definitely interesting. I assume they’ll be doing something like making teams stay in hotels for a couple days before each game?

Levi: It’s my understanding that by the time you know you have Covid-19, you are quite debilitated. So it’s unlikely. But the same security that keeps a kid out of the friendly locker room is the same security that keeps an enemy out of the locker room. You’d never make it.

Jeff: Well it’s supposed to take a minute for the symptoms to show themselves so even if possible it would have to be done weeks in advance.

What happens if the week before XYZ Team, they have a covid outbreak? Is that a hurricane-like tie? Or does the team with the covid outbreak forfeit because of lack of healthy players?

Ben: I don’t think it would be a forfeit, the game would probably just be cancelled if no other agreement can be reached. Or they’ll just play through it if they are able to.

Chris: Yeah I’d say it probably ends up being cancelled.

Levi: Flu outbreaks have happened before in sport. (I’m not trying to compare but the precedent is set). If its a small amount, it would be like that. 4-5 players out. Otherwise, that team would have to forfeit straight up. Still makes me mad that UCF got away with not playing a P5 team and claimed a title.

Robert: My guess is we won’t see forfeits because of COVID diagnoses; if a team has more than five or so cases, I think the teams would come to a mutual agreement to cancel.

Jeff: I agree that it would be cancelled. I worry if it happens to a handful of teams the season could get shelved if cases are rising again.

Jake: Drawing on my memory bank, I believe we had a hurricane-like-cancellation-that-we-tried-to-make-happen-but-they-just-gave-up. So maybe that?

What pro sport is most likely to have its next season cancelled, and why is it MLB?

Ben: At this point, I fully believe that there won’t be a baseball season. The owners and the players can’t seem to find anything to agree on, and if this drags on much longer, it won’t even be worth it to play a season.

Levi: I desperately keep up with the MLB, it’s all about money. We’re almost halfway through “the season that never was” and players want to play for MORE than their contract, owners want to pay a prorated rate.

Chris: It’s the MLB for two reasons. One, they’re being incredibly stupid. Two, everyone is watching them be incredibly stupid and making sure they won’t be that incredibly stupid.

Jeff: Hey, we can hope for a 30-team playoff, right? The Braves are great at postseason play...

Jake: It’s bad for everyone the longer this drags out in my opinion.

What would an IPTAY-like broad-based funding model look like for Tech, and what should it be called?

Levi: $10 Essential, Cash-in-Hand. The TECH fund.

Robert: Tech is different than Clemson. They have broader support, both among alumni and non-alumni fans. I would target something around $100 per year for a broad based model at Tech (which would necessarily not be as broad as IPTAY). Give the donors access to in-house data about the athletics teams of their choice. Prioritize young alumni and work your way up.

Jake: I mean, theoretically, it would mean about 100,000 people (give or take) chipping in 10 a year. That’s not a ton of money, and because Auburn With A Lake has just a broader base of support, they probably take in a lot more. I think the goal for Tech should be a little higher (as much as I hate to suggest this, $40.40 might not be a bad place to start with this regime’s branding) and should be called something to appeal to the donors, not the recruits (i.e. get an older reference). Maybe something like the “Make Sure We Never Hire Another B*** L**** Deposit.”

What are your feelings about kneeling during National Anthem this season on GT sideline?

Ben: I didn’t have an issue when Kaep did it, I won’t have an issue if any Tech players, coaches, etc. do it.

Chris: No problem whatsoever.

Robert: It’s a legitimate gesture to call for the country to live up to the ideals it purports. Kneeling during the anthem recognizes that we have failed to do this as a country, particularly for Black Americans. I support it.

Levi: I would expect it unanimously.

Jeff: It’s going to happen and it will be probably be full team participation as well. Some may call it unpatriotic but unless the values for which the flag represents are being upheld then it’s just cloth in the wind.

Carter: Doesn’t bother me at all, never did, never will. The players have traditionally taken the field after the playing of the anthem, though, so that would seem to be a non-issue. There are plenty other people who are on the field at this time, so I’d expect to see it, just not from the team.

Jake: The players used to run in with the flag in the past, yes? Which if I recall was after the anthem. So, as honorable as the concept is, it might be a moot point.

Is turf a good idea at BDS?

Ben: Sure, why not?

Levi: This feels inauthentic. Like, I’ve always thought we were the cute little program with real grass and values. Now, we’re no better than the sellouts at the U.

Robert: I grew up going to games when we still had artificial turf at BDS&HGF. It felt cheap. Our grass is beautiful; our grounds crew is world class. I’m sad about this development.

Jeff: This is a degradation to the arts. A perfectly trimmed expanse of grass with symmetrical lines is a work of art. Are we going to start slapping turf on the outfield of baseball field?

Carter: It’s a fantastic idea. After all, it’s not like athletics has taken great pride in having one of the highest quality fields in all of sports or anything like that. Plus, who likes natural grass in the dead of summer? Turf is waaaaay more comfortable when temperatures are nearing 100 degrees.

Jake: My initial reaction was that I hate this. I got a text response that since I’m the “traditions guy” I should support this since it was a thing in the waning days of the previous century. But field turf looks and feels terrible compared to the IMMACULATE field Chris May and his terrific crew keep. Recall that the Atlanta United players called it the best piece of grass they’d ever played on. So I really didn’t like it. But, I have one minor condolence:

“host many more non-football events inside the stadium that are of interest to the Georgia Tech and Atlanta communities, including campus events, concerts, and other sporting events.”

You know what this could mean? Concerts are obvious, but if it means stuff like:

  • Easier addition of varsity men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse
  • One-off Atlanta United games (like leave Kennesaw, make those ours now) and perhaps, say, a one off from another football, lacrosse, or soccer event
  • More T-Night-esque student events (@RamblinReckClub)
  • Intramural championships on the big-time field, like they used to

Then I can be for it. I think all of those drive either profile or revenue or both. And if it means the old building has more use and more life, what’s not to love?