We finally made it, fam. After six months of a global pandemic, we have finally reached the return of college football. Tonight, the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes will take on Lovie Smith’s Illinois Fighting Illini...
Wait, I’m sorry. What’s that you’re saying? Ohio State is in fact NOT playing a football tonight? Why didn’t anyone tell Twitter?
As our fearless co-leader Gene said on the Tweeter machine today, this is a sad day in Buckeye Nation, and despite all of the “sources” claiming things are going to miraculously turn around and the season will be reinstated, that possibility continues to appear remote.
Waking up this morning knowing today was supposed to be Ohio State’s season opener pic.twitter.com/ayEdNM2f3I— Gene Ross (@Gene_Ross23) September 3, 2020
To paraphrase one of the greatest pieces of American poetry ever written, “But there is no joy in Buckeyeville — the mighty Big Ten has struck out.”
So, since there is little to be happy about today, let’s run through Thursday’s news in the latest edition of Buckeye Bits.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Tia Johnston, LGHL
The belief is that Chris Holtmann could be looking to add a big man to the class, and with some highly-rated names still on the Buckeyes’ radar, the class could continue to climb.
Gene Ross, LGHL
Remember when Ohio State actually played games? That was fun. This one was especially.
Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL
It really sucks that we have to spend today remembering previous season openers instead of prepping for one tonight or — as initially scheduled — on Saturday.
From around the medical center...
Ok, so Thursday turned into a regular episode of “General Hospital” on college football Twitter, as we returned to the debate over myocarditis.
Parth Upadhyaya, Centre Daily Times
In the article, Penn State’s director of athletic medicine Wayne Sebastianelli is quoted as saying that between 30 and 35 percent of Big Ten athletes who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and were then subsequently tested showed levels of heart inflammation that would indicate the presence of myocarditis. If you’ll recall, one of the semi-stated reasons for the Big Ten canceling the fall football season three weeks ago was an Ohio Sate study that showed the percentage to be around 15 percent.
As we admitted on Twitter, Land-Grant Holy Land does not have any medical experts on staff, and I would venture to guess that few of us even passed high school biology, but that’s another story.
But, as we pointed out in the above linked tweet, if the B1G presidents took the initial OSU study seriously enough to kill the season, then certainly a study from an equally reputable research institution that says that it could be as high as 1⁄3 wouldn’t help matters, right? Well, maybe not.
Fortunately, after all of the armchair cardiologists had their say on Twitter, a legit cardiologist weighed in to again call into question the science of the studies. Michael J. Ackerman is a genetic cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, and therefore has an infinitely higher understanding of what is going on than I do.
Unfortunately, it is deja vu all over again. I last tossed down the physician's RED FLAG & cried FOUL on this #COVID19 #myocarditis issue on August 11th and now forced to do it again. There is no way that 30-35% of #Athletes with COVID19 have myocarditis.— Michael J. Ackerman MD,PhD (@MJAckermanMDPhD) September 3, 2020
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
In a very helpful Twitter thread (which was turned into this very helpful article), Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel broke down what Dr. Sebastianelli did and did not say in relation to his study. As always, there is far more nuance than was was included in the initial headline and tweet.
However, one question that I — and many other people — immediately had was, if these numbers are so stark at Ohio State and Penn State, why haven’t they been seen in other conferences and/or leagues? Are they simply not testing for it? Are they using different types of tests? Are they hiding it?
Columbus Dispatch beat writer Joey Kaufman tried to explain what he had learned in response to LGHL legend Matt Brown’s tweet on the same topic:
Could be different testing mechanisms involved. One OSU cardiologist told me a cardiac MRI was the most sensitive test for diagnosing myocarditis and that's what was used in the Big Ten, per the Penn State doctor. No guarantee every conference is using that.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) September 3, 2020
Now, while that is helpful, it certainly doesn’t explain why the NFL claims that they have not had a single player who had COVID-19 who was then diagnosed with myocarditis. I’m certainly not saying that either the NFL or PSU is being dishonest, it just seems very odd that their data is so different. In the words of C+C Music Factory, these are certainly “things that make you go hmmmmmm.”
League source confirms: zero #NFL players thus far who've had #COVID19 have been diagnosed w/ myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation). All are tested for it.— John Kryk (@JohnKryk) August 28, 2020
Including off-season, per @NFLPA + @NFL info, 171 of some 2,800 #NFL players at camps tested + for #Coronavirus.
Just before we hit publish on this article, ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura tweeted out an update on the Dr. Sebastianelli story from earlier in the day.
Regarding the claim that 30-35% of Big Ten athletes have been discovered to have heart conditions linked to Covid-19: It was incorrect.— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) September 3, 2020
Here is some clarification from Penn State.
"Dr. Sebastianelli wishes to clarify this point, and apologize for any confusion." pic.twitter.com/ATUc2FxDrU
Bah Gawd, that’s the Pac-12’s music!
Late on Thursday afternoon, the Pac-12 — the Big Ten’s shutting-down brethren — had an exciting announcement and press conference. The league announced that they had inked a deal with Quidel Corporation to supply rapid COVID tests to all of their schools by the end of the month.
In the presser, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott emphasized that while this was a major deal and substantively changes how the conference deals with playing sports amidst the virus, it doesn’t mean that we will be getting Pac-12 After Dark anytime soon. Currently half of the league’s schools are not permitted to have contact practices, let along games, due to their specific state’s health restrictions (the four schools in California and two in Oregon).
Scott also said that he has been in very close contact with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren about potentially lining up their seasons to be able to preserve some of the conferences’ historic traditions. Meaning, that they’re talking about syncing up their schedules to have a Rose Bowl game, probably sometime in the late winter or spring.
Obviously, it’s 2020 and things change rapidly, so who knows what’s going to happen, but at least we know that there are plans being discussed to potentially play at some point in the 2020-21 academic year.
From around the gridiron...
Now, to venture somewhat outside of the medical mess that CFB has become, despite reports from reputable (and some not so reputable) sources, CBSSports’ Dennis Dodd reported on Thursday that there are currently no plans for the Big Ten presidents to reexamine their vote to cancel the fall season, meaning a season kicking off on Oct. 10 as many are pushing for won’t be happening.
Multiple sources: No immediate plan for @bigten presidents to meet to consider fall start to season. One source, "Oct 10 ain't happening."— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) September 3, 2020
But, that doesn’t mean that playing in the early months of 2021 is a good idea either. As former Ohio State coach turned incredibly good analyst Urban Meyer discussed, that would be very difficult on the bodies of the athletes. This very much lines up with how Meyer approached similar issues when he was coaching. He was always concerned with the undue physical stress being put on players, from added regular season games to additional playoff and postseason games.
"The chance of putting two seasons in one calendar year, that conversation's gonna have to stop, because that won't happen."@CoachUrbanMeyer offers his thoughts on B1G football schedule options.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 3, 2020
Full Urban Analysis ➡️ https://t.co/tn6jGLDAx0 pic.twitter.com/g3YUQYTZnk
This to me is one of the reasons why I would prefer starting the weekend after Thanksgiving, as opposed to in either January or March of 2021. A November start would also give us the best opportunity to see the NFL-bound players one more time, but more importantly, that’s probably the only way that we even have a shot at having a normal season in the fall of 2021.
From around the hardwood...
Thomas Beindit, BT Powerhouse
Reports indicate that the NCAA basketball oversight committees are planning on pushing back the start of the men’s and women’s college basketball seasons to the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 25. The OSU men’s team is currently scheduled to have its first game two weeks prior on Nov. 11.
The plan will reportedly be voted on by the Division I Council on Sept. 16, which generally rubber stamps these types of decisions, but with roughly seven weeks until the proposed tip-off, there are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared.
From everywhere else...
We might not be getting Ohio State football today, but a former Buckeye did get a pretty big win on national television, nonetheless.
Former @OhioStateMTEN player JJ Wolf wins his second-round U.S. Open match 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 over Roberto Carballes Baena.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 3, 2020
I don’t know about you, but during these delicate times, I like to return to the things that bring me comfort, trashy procedural TV, superhero movies, and The Best Damn Band in the Land. If you’re like me, you can now stream the Ohio State Marching Band’s new documentary on Vimeo.
Nice done, central Ohio. Keep it up.
Franklin County and all central Ohio counties remain below Level 3 for a second straight week in Ohio’s coronavirus alert system. https://t.co/h2lLxWUEIz— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) September 3, 2020
And now for something completely different...
I am not 007-head, and I’m certainly not going to go to a movie theater right now, but this trailer does look pretty great.