CANCEL CULTURE

This may seem like a no-win situation, but there's an easy solution

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The Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 can announce their fall football schedules and scramble for non-conference patsies - I'll be stunned if any games are played. If the season does start, it will end abruptly. It's too risky. There's just too much at stake. Like the old baseball sayin' – just wait till next year.

Cancel college football now.

Heck, the Olympics postponed the biggest event in all of sports this summer until next summer, and Olympic organizers and Japanese officials aren't positive the Games will happen even then.

They postponed the Boston Marathon, Kentucky Derby, Masters golf tournament, Tour de France, Burning Man, Emmy and AVN Awards. And flat out canceled March Madness, Wimbledon, Little League World Series, the Houston Rodeo, Calgary Stampede and most of the Major League Baseball season.

If this year in sports were reduced to Twitter shorthand, it'd be "smh." What is so special or essential about college football, especially in the face of a pandemic that has paralyzed the rest of American society?

We don't have to wonder or predict: we already know that students are bringing highly contagious coronavirus to campus during move-in days this week. Watch the local news. College students are returning to campus without face masks, some making jokes about drinking Corona beer, waiting for frat parties to begin.

North Carolina, a member of the ACC, opened its campus to in-person classes last week, and sent everybody back home this week. Michigan State has told students to wait and study online in the meantime. Notre Dame has a "Temporarily Closed" sign on classroom doors. An entire sorority at Oklahoma State is in quarantine. Schools across the country are reporting or preparing for spikes in the virus.

The Big Ten and Pac-12, two of the Power 5 conferences, have said no to football this fall. The Pac-12 went even further, no sports until next January. The Mid-American Conference, Western Athletic Conference, other smaller conferences, UConn and UMass have canceled fall sports. In all 54 percent of the 130 FBS colleges will not play football this fall.

The Big Ten has two schools, Nebraska and Ohio State, stumbling and grumbling about putting together a football schedule outside their conference. It's all bluster and posturing, Nebraska and Ohio State won't play a single snap.

Presidents of Pac-12 colleges voted unanimously to cancel fall football after listening to a doctor – not a politician or football coach – explain how COVID-19 may have long-term consequences to players' hearts. That was enough for the Pac-12 to say they'll consider some sort of football schedule next spring.

If colleges say their campus isn't safe for in-person instruction, how can they say it's OK to play football? After all, the players supposedly are student-athletes, and part of the college experience is getting an education in classrooms, mingling with non-sporty, regular ol' students.

Of course college players want to play, and college towns will lose billions of dollars across the country if football is postponed. Their misery will have company. They can cry on the shoulders of 20 million Americans who've lost their jobs to the COVID-19 crisis.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "Unless players are essentially in a bubble, insulated from the community and they tested nearly every day, it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall."

The NBA is operating under an airtight bubble in Orlando without fans. It's working. Baseball, however, is not in a bubble, and players are testing positive. Games are being postponed so often that teams may not play the same number of games during its coronavirus-abbreviated season. Records and championships won't be taken seriously.

College players are not professional athletes. If football is played this season, on top of career-ending football injuries, players will risk possible long-term medical issues. It's just not worth the gamble. If the SEC, ACC and Big 12 play, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 sit, the championship game will have the biggest asterisk in sports history.

Colleges will not be able to ask players to sign a waiver, releasing the schools from coronavirus-related issues. Colleges already are reporting numbers of players bringing the virus to campus. No sport is more susceptible to spreading the virus than football, with crowded training facilities and physical contact on the field.

The fact is, America has 4 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of COVID-19 deaths. This virus is contagious and dangerous. While young people, say college age, may not exhibit symptoms, doctors say they can spread the virus just the same as older people.

If colleges keep football players on campus for practice and games, while other students are told to stay home and take classes online, the NCAA can no longer pose players as student-athletes.

America is such a hot spot for the virus that most countries are not accepting tourists from America. Even at home, some states have roadblocks keeping out visitors from other states.

The world will survive without one season of college football, while we safely wait for a COVID-19 vaccine. There's just too much at stake now.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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