Could the pandemic force BYU to return to Mountain West?


Refreshed from a few days in Graeagle, residence of the Mountain Frostee, I am able to deal with your Monday Twitter Mailbag questions, so let’s get to them. Thanks, as all the time, for the inquiries.

(Observe: In the event you’re not seeing the tweets, it is in all probability since you’re not utilizing Google Chrome. Use Google Chrome.)

It is a main assumption the season can be performed as directors appear to be coming round on the inevitability of a canceled 2020, as Yahoo! Sports activities’ newest article on the subject suggests. It’s titled: “Time to face reality: ‘No one is playing college football in the fall,“http://nevadasportsnet.com/” and contains this quote from a “high-ranking school official” saying: “Finally, nobody is taking part in soccer within the fall. It’s only a matter of the way it unfolds. As quickly one of many ‘autonomy 5’ or Energy 5 conferences decides, that’s going to finish it.” The cash quote within the article is: “I cringe after I hear directors saying that the well being and security of the student-athletes is at the beginning,” mentioned a Energy 5 coach. “No, it’s not. If it was, you’d have already punted the season.” That is 100 p.c right. When the Ivy League canceled its fall soccer season, you heard a whole lot of, “Effectively, they use a special mannequin,” mainly saying school soccer does not imply as a lot financially to the Ivy League because the FBS. Effectively, if well being and security is the guideline, income should not matter. This looks like it’s going to come down as to whether the SEC waves the white flag since that is the convention most hellbent on taking part in a season.

However to get to your query, BYU has truly misplaced 5 of its 12 video games as a result of it had three contests towards the Pac-12 (Utah, Arizona State, Stanford) and two towards the Massive Ten (Michigan State and Minnesota). So it is all the way down to seven video games, together with three towards Mountain West members (Utah State, Boise State, San Diego State). Let’s assume non-conference video games are nixed however convention video games are performed, which looks like a best-case state of affairs for the 2020 season. That would depart BYU, which is an unbiased since leaving the MW in 2011, with none opponents. BYU was a founding member of the MW and nonetheless performs not less than three soccer video games a yr towards the convention (it performed six video games towards MW foes in 2017, almost a full convention schedule).

I can 100 p.c see why BYU would attain out to the MW to attempt to salvage its 2020 season. The video games are shut geographically, they’re towards related ranges of competitors and there is been a working settlement with these groups the final a number of seasons. I overlook, nevertheless, how this is able to behoove the MW, which BYU spurned through the realignment of the 2010s after it was handed over by the Pac-12. BYU did not solely go away the MW excessive and dry, it tried to break it in a secret operation called “The Project,” which might have strengthened the WAC on the expense of the MW. There’s nonetheless unhealthy blood there. Why would the MW now assist BYU? Now, I am totally onboard with BYU returning to the MW as a full-time member long run. Let bygones be bygones. It could assist the MW in soccer and males’s basketball and provides BYU a touchdown spot after its failed “Notre Dame of the West” plan for independence, though I am certain BYU makes more cash on its TV deal than the MW can provide it, and the convention cannot afford one other TV carve-out for a division that has an overinflated sense of significance (see Boise State).

However when it comes to a one-year settlement, how does that assist the MW? It would not until it’s a 100 p.c foolproof pathway towards getting BYU again into the convention as a full member long run, which is not one thing I see BYU agreeing to. If the FBS goes to a conference-only schedule, what is the level within the MW including non-conference video games towards BYU to assist the Cougars? Even when future non-conference video games towards BYU are agreed upon in return, it would not assist the MW so as to add extra video games towards a Cougars program coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons and a 27-25 run over the 4 seasons, together with Eight-Eight towards MW groups. The MW might simply schedule extra video games towards the AAC down the street. So barring a long-term settlement between the 2 sides, I do not see the benefit for the MW to bail out BYU.

I do not suppose BYU will ever come again to the Mountain West as a full member as a result of it sees itself as a minimize above the convention (regardless of a mediocre soccer file towards the MW the final a number of seasons). The one manner that occurs is thru a sweetened tv deal, which the MW is unlikely to supply after all of the grief it is gotten (plus a lawsuit) over the Boise State carve-out. Almost certainly, ESPN finds some video games for BYU if a 2020 season occurs since The Worldwide Chief owns the rights to BYU soccer video games. Maybe a matchup with Notre Dame, one other unbiased that might lose its full schedule, could possibly be within the playing cards, though the ACC appears to be working with the Combating Irish to provide it a schedule.

I do not suppose so. I consider the entire level of not taking part in a non-conference schedule is to start out the season later in an try and let the COVID-19 curve drop, so including MW video games can be counterproductive. The one motive you’d add extra MW video games can be: (1) to have extra video games out there to fulfill its tv deal or (2) add extra video games so packages do not should refund a portion of season-ticket gross sales. But when the Energy 5 conferences deem non-conference video games non-essential (two of the 5 have to date), I do not see the MW back-filling with extra convention video games. I might see an enlargement from eight to 9 convention video games (because the Pac-12 and Massive Ten, the 2 groups to cancel non-league video games to date, have already got), however I do not see greater than that.

Contemplating he is a highschool junior who I’ve by no means seen play dwell, it is a wild guess, however I might determine a multiple-year starter with an all-conference ceiling. There’s a lot to like about Davidson, together with his measurement (6-foot-Eight), his skill to make performs off the dribble, his skill to complete with each palms, his taking pictures stroke, his athleticism, his basketball IQ and bloodlines (his dad and mother had been school athletes), his prep teaching (he performs for an elite highschool program) and the actual fact he is been surrounded by high-level Division I gamers as teammates. I am undecided if he is a small ahead or energy ahead on the subsequent degree, which is a giant query. Whereas he has a very good taking pictures stroke, he is made solely 22 Three-pointers within the 54 prep video games the final two seasons. Nevada is instantly deep within the frontcourt with Zane Meeks, Okay.J. Hymes, Warren Washington, DeAndre Henry and Robby Robinson all having between two and 4 years of eligibility left with the Wolf Pack. Ideally, Davidson, who likes to play on the perimeter, can develop his Three-point shot and wing protection to the purpose he can begin on the three. Total, it was a extremely good addition contemplating he had gives from groups like Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State, amongst others. He is arguably the best recruit coach to decide to Nevada beneath Steve Alford.

No to the primary query. There is no Cameron Oliver-type participant on this class. Oliver was a close to NBA-level participant after two years at Nevada. He is arguably the best athlete in program historical past. And he began 33 of 38 video games and averaged 29.four minutes a contest as a freshman. He additionally was a yr extra developed than your typical freshman as a result of he sat out a season after spending time at Oregon State. So a whole lot of issues needed to line up for him to be the 2016 Mountain West freshman of the yr (by the media; the coaches picked Jeremy Hemsley, which was fallacious). In the event you’re on the lookout for a comp when it comes to freshman productiveness, I might intention for a Zane Meeks-like impression the place a participant provides you a stable 20 minutes a recreation. Simply taking a look at instantly out there taking part in time, guards Je’Lani Clark and Alem Huseinovic are in all probability within the best place there, together with wing Tre Coleman. A kind of guys ought to develop right into a stable 20-minute function participant as a freshman if there’s a 2020-21 season.

In your second query, that 2006 recruiting class was truly massively disappointing. The category included Richie Phillips (accidents ruined his profession), Matt LaGrone (performed soccer after two seasons at Nevada), Tyrone Hanson (dismissed after one season after going to a celebration during which three individuals had been killed), Brandon Fields (up-and-down profession full of many points) and JaVale McGee (one all-conference season of productiveness earlier than leaping to the NBA). Phillips, LaGrone and Hanson mixed for 165 profession factors at Nevada. Fields by no means fairly lived as much as his potential, and McGee, whereas having a fantastic NBA profession, had a brief stint in Reno. So, sure, the 2020 recruiting class might very nicely have a much bigger impression at Nevada than the 2006 class, though it will not produce a participant nearly as good as McGee, who’s the best participant in program historical past while you embody his NBA manufacturing.

It’d clearly have a demoralizing impression as athletic director Doug Knuth has estimated the lack of a soccer season costing Nevada about $Eight million, which I broke down in an article in April, which read:

“We discuss it loads about how necessary soccer is and the way necessary males’s basketball is, the 2 huge income sports activities for our program,” Knuth mentioned. “However proper now, we’ll get a way for what it actually means. We will get a way if we do not play soccer this yr or it is some form of a truncated season, we’ll see simply how necessary soccer is to our total monetary well being. For a college like us, when you do not play soccer, it is in all probability an $Eight million swing in your funds. For a college like Oklahoma or Ohio State or Texas of no matter faculty, it could be a $100 million swing. It is form of mind-blowing to suppose an athletic division drives that a lot cash out of their soccer program, however that is the fact.”

Knuth wasn’t exaggerating with that $100 million determine. Texas, for instance, made $156,147,208 on soccer in fiscal yr 2019. It spent $43,200,270 on the game, so a net revenue simply shy of $113 million. (However there is not sufficient cash in school sports activities to pay the gamers. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) Michigan created $122,270,243 in soccer income in FY19; Ohio State $115,091,304; and Alabama $94,604,899. It is goes on and on. You’ll be able to see why faculties need to play soccer this season. There is a ton of cash at stake.

“If we do not play soccer this yr, it’ll be a significant, main impression on each one among us,” Knuth mentioned. “However actually Energy 5 faculties, these big-time faculties, it’s going to crush a whole lot of departments.”

Whereas shedding $Eight million for a college like Nevada is big, I do not suppose that may led to a shuttering of the athletic division if that is what you are asking. Too many individuals care about Wolf Pack athletics to let one season of not taking part in soccer kill the athletic division. If the season is pushed again to spring 2021, it in all probability means no different fall sports activities can be performed this season. The lack of a complete season would in all probability result in extreme furloughs and/or paycuts with the college absorbing the loss within the quick time period, which clearly will not be straightforward given UNR’s educational arm coping with a significant loss in income, too. Nevada is on the NCAA minimal in sports activities to remain on the Division I degree, however the Wolf Pack might put in a waiver to shutter some sports activities within the quick time period at keep D-I, so that might occur if the NCAA accepted some form of waiver, however Knuth has mentioned cutting sports is “not on the table at Nevada.”

I am undecided what “save as many scholarships as doable” means. Rosters are already set, and never funding a scholarship to economize can be an ethically bankrupt determination (and probably unlawful by NCAA requirements). There are not any straightforward options, however Nevada has already put a freeze on new hires. You would minimize journey prices and impose furloughs and paycuts to your prime earnings, particularly if no sports activities are being performed and coaches aren’t truly teaching in 2020-21 (coaches at Nevada make a mixed $7.5 million, so a 10 p.c minimize saves $750,000). You would take away the complete value of attendance stipends, which Nevada funds at $Three,600 per scholar (it is allowed to go as much as $four,800 per scholar) and prices about $800,000 a yr, break up evenly between athletics and the college. You would cease feeding the athletes, which might avoid wasting cash (Nevada spent $413,205 on meals final yr). The recruiting budgets would go down (Nevada spent $1,015,880 on it final yr) and recreation ensures (Nevada spent $1,057,165 on it final yr) would go away.

Last December, I wrote a story on how the Wolf Pack spends its money. You would undergo these line objects and try to seek out locations to chop. But it surely’s not like there’s a whole lot of fats to trim at a spot like Nevada. Actually not sufficient to make ends meet if the primary income streams of tv cash and ticket gross sales dry up in 2020-21.

In brief, sure. Nevada’s low total athletics price range (it ranks both final or second-to-last within the MW in price range yearly) means it ought to lose much less cash if school athletics are canceled in 2020-21. In the event you’re taking a look at soccer alone, right here had been the MW soccer budgets in 2019.

1. Colorado State, $24,782,902

2. Fresno State, $16,419,529

Three. San Diego State, $16,070,045

four. Boise State, $14,600,947

5. Wyoming, $13,649,998

6. Hawaii, $12,737,691

7. Nevada, $10,710,232

Eight. Utah State, $10,zero10,163

9. UNLV, $9,768,926

10. New Mexico, $9,160,962

11. San Jose State, $Eight,512,268

Air Drive’s numbers aren’t public.

Colorado State can be in an particularly powerful place as a result of it has large debt on its new stadium ($12.1 million per year) and has to pay out fired coach Mike Bobo and his employees, so creating sufficient income this yr to do each issues can be of additional significance.

When it comes to best gamers within the area in its 31-year historical past, I might go together with eight-time winner Rick Rhoden; five-time winner Dan Quinn; four-time winner Billy Joe Tolliver; and three-time winner Mark Mulder, who edges two-time winners Tony Romo and Jack Wagner.

When it comes to probably the most well-known individuals to play within the match, I might go together with Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Wayne Gretzky and Steph Curry, who edges Charles Barkely.

When it comes to the gamers most synonymous with the match, I might go together with Charles Barkley, John Elway, Jack Wagner and Jim McMahon, the final two being the one two to play in all 31 occasions.

When it comes to the celebrities most desired after who have not performed within the ACC, I might go together with Invoice Murray, Tom Brady, Barack Obama and Adam Sandler.

There may be undoubtedly an assumption the NFL season will simply go on with out a hitch or an opportunity of cancellation, however I believe that stems largely from the actual fact most individuals know NFL house owners and groups do not care about participant security after years of concussion denial, taking part in video games on Thursdays, making an attempt so as to add a 17th regular-season recreation, and so forth. Soccer might be the least conducive sport to taking part in safely throughout a pandemic given the shut contact within the trenches and gigantic rosters. It seems as if the NFL has not put a lot thought into how it will play throughout a pandemic, so it could possibly be a catastrophe, however it seems just like the league is continuing as regular outdoors of canceling two preseason video games per staff (when the gamers need all 4 canceled). The timeline was good for the NFL given the pandemic started in March and its season did not begin till September, which ought to have been sufficient time to crush the curve earlier than video games had been performed, however that clearly did not occur. There could be some powerful choices to be made through the season. Such as you mentioned, what if six gamers take a look at constructive the Saturday earlier than a recreation? Would the opposing staff really feel snug taking part in that recreation? However I believe you may see a full NFL season.

No, simply because a Keanu Reeves-inspired Twitter account with one follower has misplaced curiosity doesn’t imply the NFL’s halcyon days are over. So long as there’s playing, fantasy soccer and the RedZone channel, America can be hooked. It is not my most popular sport, however the scores are always gigantic. I do not see how COVID-19 or the Washington soccer staff being pressured to alter its nickname will alter that if the actual fact gamers are damaging their brains on the sphere did not cease individuals from watching.

There’ll all the time be part of the Wolf Pack fan base and Nevada’s total alumni base that by no means warms to Colin Kaepernick, and there is not a lot the college can do about that. However you’ll be able to rely me out if anyone argues the college has “shunned” Colin Kaepernick given the actual fact there are more photos of him than any alum in the Wolf Pack’s athletic facilities, the actual fact there are pictures of him in The Joe’s admission workplaces and within the president’s constructing; and the actual fact UNR president Marc Johnson, on many events, together with instantly after Kaepernick started kneeling, was supportive of the previous Wolf Pack star. In 2016, Johnson mentioned:

“The College of Nevada, Reno won’t abandon the numerous contributions that one among our graduates, Colin Kaepernick, made throughout his time on the College, primarily based on his expression of the constitutional proper afforded to residents of the US to precise their views, whether or not in a controversial method or not. The College is a spot the place we encourage open and significant dialogue, free speech and variations of opinion.”

The one main beefs I’ve with the college’s dealing with of Kaepernick was the elimination of things from the show case on the airport for “cleansing functions” and athletic administration placing any form of strain on student-athletes to not observe his lead in kneeling. When high-money donors speak, you do not all the time should hear. Now, can Nevada do a greater job of recognizing Kaepernick’s impression and the actual fact he is an alum? Sure. It might do this with a number of individuals, together with Marion Motley, Richard Bryan, Bryan Sandoval, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jennifer Harman, Chris Ault, Catherine Cortez Masto, the college’s six Pulitzer Prize winners, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Ron Toomer (creator of the primary upside-down roller-coaster!) and Washoe the Chimp, amongst others. I might like to see a Wall of Fame of illustrious alums on campus. However I do not suppose Nevada has shunned Kaepernick, and I do know they have been open to him returning to campus even earlier than this yr and had been hopeful he’d be again this season for a Corridor of Fame induction (all pre-pandemic, after all).

There is no debate. It is Kap. It is all the time been Kap. And it’ll all the time be Kap. That is what it was when he was at Nevada, and in 2013 the person himself made a ruling as you’ll be able to see beneath. I do get heated after I see a “Kaep.”

I addressed that in nice depth in final week’s Monday Mailbag, so you can read my opinion on that here.

Greatest query of the week, and it is Popeyes by far. The Popeyes hen sandwich is the best fast-food merchandise created. The Chick-fil-A hen sandwich is nicely above common, and its Polynesian sauce is elite, however Popeyes is at one other degree. Wendy’s is a distant third.

I’ve by no means been to Culvers or Fosters Freeze, so I will DQ these after which go together with Sonic adopted by Steak ‘n Shake adopted by DQ (Dairy Queen). I nonetheless get confused on order at Sonic given the ’60s-style, roller-blade server setup, however you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with the meals.

Nevada solely misplaced one senior off final yr’s roster, so it had virtually all of its scholarships returning. Add within the reality the Wolf Pack added just a few transfers (Reese Lamph from Houston in addition to a swimmer from East Carolina, which minimize its program, and Louisville’s Kyla Alexander) and Nevada appears fairly flush on scholarships heading into 2020-21. We did meet up with Nevada swim coach Brendon Bray lately to speak about this season. He mentioned Boise State’s program being minimize and a few additions to his staff in an interview you can watch here.

I obtain minimal trolling from different MW fan bases, however UNLV and San Diego State (basketball solely) are the highest two. I even have a robust rapport with Boise State followers. They appear to love me for no matter motive.

A UNLV fan accused me of raping my then-2-year-old son due to my profile image on Twitter as soon as. So being a sportswriter is not all sunshine and rainbows. But it surely’s largely simply individuals upset I had their favourite staff two or three spots decrease than all people else in my Prime 25 rankings. Sports activities followers get upset about probably the most minute issues. And the SDSU fan base misplaced its thoughts after I voted Jalen Harris for MW participant of the yr over Malachi Flynn final March. Received a whole lot of loopy emails after that one.

Whether or not followers can be allowed within the stands for NIAA video games can be dictated by the state’s steerage on public gatherings quite than the NIAA. I think about dad and mom can be allowed to observe their youngsters play highschool sports activities. New Mexico lately turned the primary state to cancel fall soccer and soccer. Nevada has set some tips for what a 2020-21 season would possibly seem like (more on that here). If the NIAA cancels fall sports activities, they will not make them up within the spring. The one causes schools are contemplating doing so is due to the monetary impression of not fulfilling its tv proper offers. Highschool would not have these needs, plus lots of the youngsters who play fall sports activities additionally play winter and spring sports activities. At this stage, I might say there is a 50-50 probability Nevada performs highschool soccer this fall. When it comes to your final query, packages are allowed limitless observe proper now with out followers in attendance.

I have not had weekends off in 12 years, so having weekends utterly off through the pandemic has felt like an prolonged trip. However if you wish to write up a Mailbag, I can submit it on our web site (minimal 10 questions required). Simply put out the Twitter inquiry, get questions from followers and ship me the solutions and I will put the Mailbag collectively on our web site.

We had a fantastic two-night stay-over in Graeagle. Coming quickly to an internet site close to you: “Exploring Our Yard: Seven issues to do in Graeagle.”

I went with the Hawaiian blizzard. I normally go Oreo blizzard however determined to take an opportunity, and it was price it. The Hawaiian blizzard, which had pineapple, bananas and coconut, was nice. And my son received the Oreo blizzard, so I received to eat a few of his, too.

I am no professional on the Excessive Sierra, however Graeagle appears far superior to Portola, which implies Graeagle Frostee is way superior to Portola Frosty. Edge to Graeagle just because “Frostee” is healthier than “Frosty.”

So our Frostee rankings go:

Graeagle

Portola

Loyalton

Loyalton additionally goes with “Frosty” over “Frostee,” so demerit there.

The emphasis on the “Tee” is irrelevant, though there’s the jankiest driving vary you may ever see proper subsequent to Greagle Mountain Frostee. The 50-yard marker is a cutout of a cow.

My cornhole recreation is normally fairly stable. When it comes to yard video games, ranked, I will go

1. Wiffle ball

2. Ping pong

Three. Horseshoes

four. Cornhole

5. Bocce ball

6. Croquet

7. Frisbee Cup Sport

Eight. Badminton

9. Spikeball

10. Massive Jenga

Thanks for studying this week. I am off to make myself a Massive Jenga set. See y’all subsequent week!

Sports activities columnist Chris Murray gives perception on Northern Nevada sports activities. He writes a weekly Monday Mailbag regardless of it giving him a headache and it taking a number of hours to complete. However individuals appear to love it, so he does it anyway. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or observe him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.