In one of the most famous scenes in sports movie history, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson comes running out of an Iowa cornfield to take batting practice with Ray Kinsella, who put his farm on the line to build a diamond with cornstalks as an outfield wall for apparitions blacklisted by Major League Baseball.
But that might be more realistic than what University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld proposed yesterday.
Harreld said he’d like the Iowa Hawkeyes to start practicing for the upcoming football season on June 1st.
University of Iowa pres said athletes planning to resume practice, including footballers, June 1. 'We're hopeful that this will be behind us at this point.'— Vanessa Miller (@VanessaMiller12) April 30, 2020
“We have a moratorium on all team-related activities until June 1,” said Harreld. “We’re ever so hopeful that this virus will be behind us at that point, and we’ll be able to get back into what we normally do.”
The thought of having players on the gridiron just 30 days from now seems like a pipe dream. Forget the ability to have players travel from across the country to a campus that won’t be having classes... who will make sure the dorms are open? Who will feed the players on campus?
And most importantly, will there be enough virus tests available so anyone, much less mostly healthy football players that could sit at home like the rest of us, can use them without taking away from people in need? Would they be quarantined from the rest of campus? Is it anyway ok to have unpaid amateur student-athletes in a quarantine?
Would the Big Ten let one school start practicing so much earlier than any other? Technically the Big Ten’s moratorium on athletically-related activities ends on Monday, May 4th, but it seems very likely to be extended in some capacity.
Harreld is no stranger to controversy. He was hired under very suspect circumstances, and had no academic leadership experience before taking the job. The faculty have given him a vote of no confidence already, and his five-year contract is up in November.
And for someone with a contract expiring soon, this doesn’t seem like the smartest time to put your foot in your mouth.