Paul Finebaum reacts to UM president's comments on possibility of no football in fall
University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel made some headlines over the weekend after he suggested that there is some doubt that college football and all NCAA athletics may not be played during the fall semester. It was a counter statement to all the momentum that seems to be heading in the direction of having college sports back in some form.
Schlissel told the Wall Street Journal “If there is no on-campus instruction then there won’t be intercollegiate athletics, at least for Michigan,” in a recent interview. He continued by saying that there is “some degree of doubt as to whether there will be college athletics [anywhere], at least in the fall.”
On Monday, SEC Network host Paul Finebaum discussed the recent comments that Schlissel made.
“I think it’s a legitimate concern here on Memorial Day because it is not going to be an even season,” Finebaum said. “An interesting moment, I would even call it a seminal moment in this process where you have one of the bluest bloods in the sport, and that’s what was so interesting about what the Michigan president said, he essentially said ‘we don’t have to have college football, the University of Michigan is a billion-dollar operation, and football is a relatively small part of that.’ He gave the number, I think it was 185 million dollars, that is in contrast to what most of us think, that you can’t have a University without a college football program. That is saying just the opposite.”
Last week, the NCAA decided to lift the moratorium on organized team activities, allowing student-athletes to resume voluntary workouts beginning June 1. Already, four B1G schools have made plans for players to return, including Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois.
Even though Schlissel’s comments have been contrary to the building momentum towards a college football season, Finebaum doesn’t believe the UM president is alone in his thinking.
“I don’t think he is on an island, but we have not heard that from many presidents,” Finebaum said. “We heard from Gordon Gee (West Virginia University president) the other day and he said ‘yeah, I’m ready to play football, we’re going to play.’ I think you’re going to see isolated cases and I think the Michigan president is going to carry a lot of weight primarily because he is a physician, he’s an immunologist. He’s not your garden variety school president, and I think he’s going to send a message across the board, ‘be careful here.’ I think you’re going to hear more, maybe not a lot, but more presidents follow suit from where he’s standing today.”
It will be interesting to see if more presidents follow in Schissel’s footsteps.