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Booger McFarland Says College Football Debate Has Become ‘Selfish’

“How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old son on the field, but you can’t have fans in the stands? How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old kid to college, but you can’t have kids that to class and sit in those seats?”

Ricky Keeler

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As the days go by, it becomes clearer and clearer that college football is in trouble for this fall. In a story first reported by Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger from Sports Illustrated on Sunday, Power 5 conferences would be meeting with their boards in the next couple of days and this telling quote was put in the article: 

“I think by the end of the week the fall sports will be postponed in all conferences.”

As of right now, one power conference has reportedly decided to cancel the season this fall. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Big Ten has made the decision to cancel the upcoming season due to concerns from COVID-19, but no official announcement has been made. Dan Patrick revealed on his show that the vote was 12-2 in favor of canceling: 

All morning long on Monday, there was debate around the issue. One of the topics talked about was if you had a son, would you let him play college football during these unprecedented times. Former LSU defensive tackle and Super Bowl champion Booger McFarland answered that question on ESPN’s Get Up and mentioned the selfishness he sees in college sports.

“I have a son. If he was old enough to play college football and he was on a team, I would not let him play…How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old son on the field, but you can’t have fans in the stands? How can it be safe for me to send my 17-20 year old kid to college, but you can’t have kids that to class and sit in those seats? See, at some point, this has become selfish for everyone else and we want to make decisions when we are the ones not taking the risk.” 

On Sunday night, many high profile players, such as Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, tweeted using the #WeWantToPlay hashtag. Lawrence articulated his thoughts on social media.

“Unfortunately, for the NCAA, we still call these kids amateur athletics and we have hid behind that for years,” McFarland said on ESPN this morning. “I understand what Trevor Lawrence and all of these players around the country are doing, but guess what! It’s not up to you because you are an amateur. That means someone has to make the decision for you. I understand the hashtag, but it does not really mean anything.” 

Later in the show, McFarland used Tennessee guard Trey Smith, one of the best offensive linemen in the country, as an example of the reason liability will play a larger role in any conference’s decision than what players want. Smith had blood clots in his lungs back in 2018 and had a special practice plan last season.

“I understand he can say ‘we want to play,’ but at some point, when everything hits the fan, the University of Tennessee will be liable. Just like what happened in the NFL with the concussion lawsuit, when liability is put on one side, there are billions of dollars that had to change hands and these college institutions, they are afraid.”

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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