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I wanted to bring on Bomani Jones because I feel like most people don't know just how much he knows about college football. It's not just that he can, like, name every Heisman winner back to before 1970. It's that he's actually doing some of the reporting on what's happening in college football right now, talking to athletes, talking to coaches, because there's a moment to seize here some of the power for these players. And I don't know whether they're going to be successful or not in actually seizing it.
So what do you think, Bomani? Do you think that they're actually going to be able to be less helpless and less powerless than they've been at the end of whatever this unprecedented time is?
Man, you know, I just kind of fell like generally, right? Like after George Floyd, we had a moment. And like George Floyd is part of what brings us to where we are right now. Like, every player that I've talked about is how does he get started, that it started with Black Lives Matter stuff and then it rolled then into everything else. I'm kind of getting a little worried, though, at this point that the urgency of the moment is passing a bit.
And I feel like there was a good month, maybe even me to be too far. We had a good, strong month where people understood that you had to lean in order to get some stuff to happen. Like pressure was all at people continue to apply that pressure. And now we're kind of at a place where pressure isn't like what we're seeing and what we're getting. And so on one hand, there is a real chance to get some structural change going here.
And I thought that with the players in the PAC 12 we're talking about, they were really going at this, not just we need health and safety protocols right now and the things that are necessary to make players feel safe enough to play in this moment. They were also pushing on the idea that racial justice is to compensate the players like that was a real pressure play to make right then. Now, of course, the PAC 12 wound up canceling this season.
So how much they had to actually consider that stuff could get a little bit table. But the Big Ten, when they're United Movement came out, it did not have compensation as a plank in a big point of disagreement that a lot of players had on this was the idea that they didn't think that now was not the time for the compensation argument because they felt that there were other things that were more pressing. The PAC 12 united argument is there all together.
We can't separate them in this way. But as you notice right now, you got really seemingly led a lot by guys from Ohio State. We also see him, Trevor Lawrence and other cats. But we want to play push right now. We want to play. We want to play.
Of course they want to play, right? Of course they want to play. Yeah.
That's the thing that, you know, and I did a parting shot on this set outside the lines where I realized that I could I had fallen into a trap that I think a lot of other people fell into, but for different reasons, which is ignoring the fact that the guys who are saying, give us this or we won't play, are sacrificing, playing like they want to play. Every single one of these guys really wants to play football. And so we want to play.
Movement has now been a thing that people who just want the players to shut up and play, they jumped behind that. And they're completely ignoring the fact that the players are saying we want to play commo. But there are other things that we want. We want to play. We want to put that first and foremost, because that message has been lost. But there were other things that these guys ultimately wanted, and I'm not hearing that much about that stuff.
Right. Like as much as we're talking about the Big Ten and like, hey, man, you guys just shut it down. Nobody got an explanation before you shut it down. Why didn't you say anything or whatever? You're not hearing questions for the Big Ten that say, are you in a place that had universal health and safety protocols to go across the board? Right. Because that's what the real point is. The point is not that the players want to play.
The point is the players want to play under a set of circumstances. That leaves them feeling safe and media wise. And I feel like generally from the observers, they're skipping over that part, like completely. And so I'm looking at the players on all ends of this. And I hope they realize it's going to take pressure, like trying to work with, which is kind of what I talked to a hundred yards from the Big Ten movement. He said that they wanted to work with the Big Ten, that that was their plan was to work with the Big Ten.
I talked to Darian Rencher of Clemson linebacker that plays there, and he spoke in terms that was very much so about with. And I don't know how much you can get done with. Right.
Like, I just don't know how much is possible there. So when we started now talking about the structural changes that are possible in college athletics right now, I think the players have all the leverage in the world to make some things happen right now.
I don't know if they get. That it's going to take flexing of that leverage in order to get it done. Well, and they're not united in any way, right. Explain to me the differences between why it is the PAC 12 was so clear in the messaging. And then, not surprisingly, the PAC 12 said, okay, never mind about football. No, we don't want to give you guys any of that stuff. But their messaging was very strong and they have less leverage than the SEC and the FCC have now because they were first.
If the FCC and the FCC right now, Bomani, if they realized the leverage they had, they they might actually be able to get some of this stuff that the PAC 12 said, now, never mind, get out of here. We cancel football on. Yeah.
So what I want to know about the FCC is what is the testing regimen at the least? Diligent school? Because what ultimately did the PAC 12 in was how poorly players felt things were being handled at some of the schools, which are, from what I could gather, the schools that don't really have money right now, the schools that didn't have the money to throw all these tests out now. But the saliva test they're talking about, the whole game might change for everybody.
But that was a big catalyst over there in the PAC 12 is the players at Stanford, where they do have money and they are testing are hearing about these other guys not being tested. And they're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Right. So I want to know what the state of affairs is in the S.E.C., where basically everybody is pretty flush with cash over there. Right. The places that we heard stories about outbreaks in the Big Ten, what was it, Rutgers and Maryland schools that don't really have cash.
And so I wonder if part of what we have at the SCC in the SEC is those players feel safe and they're talking to each other. And it sounds like everything is safe there, in which case they believe they have safety, at which point they're like, cool, OK, we'll just go ahead and play this. But they've given the game away. They have told the players just how important they are, just how much money they're worth. They are making it clear they're willing to put all these people at risk in the name of this because the players provide a service that is just that damn valuable.
And nobody in that, at least in the SEC, seems to be at a place where they're like, OK, cool. Well, let's see what we can get. It doesn't seem to be moving that way in the ACC either, and it's not moving that way in the big twelve. Like I, I want to know or I wonder what are the relationships that those players have with their coaches that are getting them to this point? Because another level of this that I've thought has been very interesting to me about most of the guys in the PAC 12 is most of the guys that are at the forefront of this movement feel very supported by their coaches, by what I've talked to those guys about the relationships they have with their coaches.
It sounds like what you would hope a relationship with a college player and a coach would be like. I talked to John Holland at Oregon about crystal ball up there. Do I want to go play for crystal ball after you got done? I mean, he's the guy that says that if he affects a draft stock and everything else, I'll know I stood on the side. Right. He said that after you put this out, after they put out the united letter, the crystal ball called him.
I said, what do you say? He said is what list? You don't like the people that have the the folks that have empowered their players to seem to treat them like adults, like Justin Wilcox. Akl is an example of that. David Shaw, who it didn't sound like was this close with these guys, is the other guys where it still sounded very similar to people that seem to be treating the players in some way like they're grown ups.
Those players seem to be the ones at the forefront of these movements. And this makes me wonder, so what are the relationships that these guys have with their coaches at these other places, in these other places? Are they being treated like grown men? Right. Or are they being are they getting that level of respect that I'm hearing from these other places? And maybe not getting that respect is the reason that those guys are already pushed to even at clubs.
It right there guys are out front. And one thing about Daboll that I've learned in this process is those guys feel very heard in that program. I don't think they got no power, but they feel very hurt. And I'm wondering, in the places where they don't feel heard it, their development is how that affects their development and the development that leads you to be in a place where you look at the world and say, hey, we should probably be doing better, accurate or unfair and too sweeping to say or feel like the player in the SCC is going to give off more.
Yes, boss. Than just about any of the other conferences because of what a big money machine that is and because of the coaches in that conference where I don't know how much listening Saban and Orgeron are doing at this level of distorted power.
Well, I also think that what you can get away with on those fronts also probably has a lot to do with. How afraid someone is getting sent back home. Right, like, I think that's that's a big question, because one thing that we're finding out in the course of this process and not enough has been made of this sort of thing with Gary Patterson at TCU, with Gary Patterson, he did not call the guy in in word. He just used the N-word.
And I do agree that that's a distinction to be clear. Right. I just feel like you've been doing this job too long to think that you could do that. But the bigger problem that I had was that he told to do that. I'll send you back to Pitt, which is talk about Pittsburg, Kansas. This is the thing that we heard about. And I will I'll send you back to dad, dad, dad. And a lot of dudes can't go back like I mean, Shani's always joke about that.
Like guys you see out there playing like you understand it, you can't go back. Right. That's real. Like a lot of these cats can't go back. And I think that the cats that feel like they can't go back are probably going to be the ones that are less likely to stand up in this moment because the calculus for them is different. And I would say for a lot of those schools, you've got a lot of dues that really can't go back.
Now, I wouldn't say all of them, because one thing that happens once your recruiting profile improves, you don't have to fish out of can't go pat pond nearly as much as you used to before. Like, I don't really know what the class background is now for, say, Alabamas players, for example, or Georgia's players. I don't know. I don't know who the guys are that they're getting at this point. But we all know the schools that historically have to roll to can't go back Dyce more than the others do.
And I imagine that for some of them, that's why they don't they really ain't got to say, well, can you elaborate on that a little bit?
And where do you rank it in terms of subtexts that you find interesting around this whole thing? Because there are a number of subtexts here, and I don't think enough is being made at all of the language and everything else of I'll send you back home. And that's sounding like a threat.
So I did a show on MSNBC this weekend and Brandon Marshall was on he was talking about how one of the years that he was at Central Florida, how his dad was sleeping on the floor of his dorm room because his pops didn't have anywhere to stay. Like I think that for a lot of people, when you hear this and I know that this was the case for me, for a decent portion of my life, like I grew up in a world, my parents, college professors.
Right. Like you're going to go to college. My parents paid for my brother and sister to go to college. My brother went to college with a car. My sister had a car a couple of years after that. But my thought is this is how it works when people go to college. And then I started paying more attention to the people I went to school with and came to realize, oh, snap, these people are working to buy their own cars in high school.
Right. I think for a lot of people, if your parents, like, bought you a car, you grew up around a bunch of people whose parents bought them cars. And you think of it as, OK, your parents are going to buy you a car. The other way that works with college is people assume that everybody, when the semester is up, just goes back home. Right? Like you just go back to your room or wherever it was that you stay.
Now, some people got to be out that house at eighteen years old. Right. Like, that's a wrap on that. Some people you're in this door, that'll mean your mama or your dad is still living in the place where they're in. Like for a lot of people, this is their ticket out of whatever it was. They invested everything they had into this skill in order to get out of these circumstances that they didn't see another path to get out.
And then this football coach comes and tells you, I can send you back to that. Like that's the thing that terrifies people more than anything else they want to think about, like old Miami teen love Jimmy Johnson. Right. But Jimmy Johnson always said the primary motivating factor for him in dealing with players is fear. Fear. That's the way you try to get it out of him was fear. And for a lot of people, that's the thing they're more afraid of than anything else.
You I listen to Bruce Springsteen records, man.
It's all about getting the hell out of wherever you from. You know what I mean? It's just a little more acute for these cats because somebody has the power to literally send them back.
That's one of the amazing things here. When hunger isn't athletic cliche, where hunger is the difference between no, you'll have three square meals or maybe I'll send you home and you won't be fed by your skills. Yeah, like I know.
I do think a lot of people need to think about this, right. This for me was a good thing about going to an BCU because he did think about going to a black colleges.
Black doesn't really mean anything. And what I mean by it doesn't mean anything is that if the separating factor for us all being here is simply that we're black, then you're going to go all across the continuum on a lot of things, like on parental background or money, where people are from all of this stuff. Right. Because it ain't enough of us to segment out into all these little bitty groups. Right. So like what college is for white folks, by and large, the fancy the fancy rich white folks.
College is almost entirely populated by fancy rich white folks and people with exceptional scores like those are the people who were there. You can't make a black college so fancy. That ain't everybody showing up on some level. And we've demonstrated throughout the course of time we'll borrow whatever the things that we have done as a people to be educated is so. As will borrow whatever money it is, we'll do all that stuff we got to do in order to get here.
And so what you find out is that so are you going home for spring break? No. Stay right there in that dorm room because, A, they may not have the money for a plane ticket or B, there's literally no place for them to sleep. Like the house you stayed in might not be the house your mama stays in anymore. You don't need a two bedroom, not a shoe out the house. Right. Boom. OK, save that money.
Go along with that. Like and I think that people can very easily misunderstand not poverty necessarily, but just like not having money, you know. And I think if you grew up in a way where like I grew up in a way where there was never literally anything in the world that I needed that I did not have. Did not. I can't think of any time that there was something that was needed or really, really warning so many of these kids, college football is that provider for anything.
They can't get anything they need unless college football gives it to him. That's it.
And those coaches know that. Right. And I just think it's real easy for the average observer to not understand that what it meant for them to go to college is not what it means for a lot of these guys to go to college, not all of them, but a lot of them.
What are some of the other subtexts here that you feel like people aren't talking enough about noticing enough that isn't out there enough because we're too busy arguing about whether they should play or shouldn't play and everybody kind of wants college football back. It's not like it's not like the people out here aren't who are listening to this right now, don't want college football back. Everybody would like to have college football back as long as it's not a situation where you're asking at what cost?
Well, I think it's a couple of things. That is the last one, the PAC 12 players, when I first talked to them, the thing they wanted to make sure everybody understood that the number one issue for them was racial justice.
That was the number one thing for them was racial justice. And I think that that's been something that's been kind of lost in this discussion at the compensation argument is also for them one of racial justice. If you look at what the Kobe 19 rates are by demographic, you understand the health and safety stuff. All of this like to them, racial justice is the centerpiece. I think that point has been lost. Another thing that I think has been lost is that the PAC 12 coalition in particular is a multiracial coalition like those this white dudes at the front of this.
And they're going strong. And it's guys that got some things to lose. Man like that PAC 12 movement got some players. I mean, like Panay saw, for example, at Oregon is probably going be a top five pick. He's put his name on a lot of this stuff like this, some big names here, even like with Trevor Lawrence, you know, on the other side like this, some big names that have put their names on this.
I think that part is being lost.
Also, I think lost in this is there's a major scandalous situation at Colorado State that we just kind of missed in the course of all of this, aside from the fact that people thought that their testing game was a bit shenanigans. You've got the allegations of racism, of with the previous coach and with the current coach that's happened in that story. The stories on them were so believable. And not only were they so believable, as we saw from the Gary Patterson situation, not really that isolated necessarily like now is the time for me to me that if you cover a college football program, are you close to one?
You got to put a call in on every single testing, every single place and find out what's going on with testing. Like not everybody is going to be you freeze and be dumb enough to come out and tell us that we're only testing you if we think you got it. Can you help the audience, because I know what the Coloradoan was reporting and I know a great many of the details as it regards, you know, trying to get around the testing.
But can you explain to the people who do not know some of the details there that are most appalling? Because this isn't this is an Alabama Bomani. This is I mean, this is when is Colorado State, like Colorado State doesn't get to be mercenary about these things to protect their should program like that is not any good.
So, like the details that were most appalling to you that were reported there by the school paper. Correct.
The school paper? No, I mean, it just it just felt like from them that basically their testing wasn't testing. Like that was the biggest thing that jumped out there is that they felt like the school was manipulating test results like that, telling people that they had tested positive or that you've been around people, that it tested positive and you've got the coaches making racial borderline racist depending on how you want to delineate it. Jokes about the players. And the big one was the accusation.
Steve Addazio, after laying into a player, comes in and talks to his staff and brags about how he laid into the player, like, how are you a grown man and you taking pride in the way that you were hollering and screaming at a teenager who has no power in any way in his actions in dealing with you. And like you said, it's Colorado State. But the problem is most of this country in terms of college football is Colorado states like that.
Twenty five only got twenty five teams. Right. Like most of these places to Colorado states, which means most of these places, the coaches have this level of this level of power over their players. And what we're learning is how many of these guys coach football but don't like the guys that they coach. And that that to me, is just the most staggering thing. Whenever I hear about any of this stuff is like deal. Do you, like, actively dislike the players who are making you a millionaire?
Why would that be happening, do you think? What is it is a generational disconnect. Is it cultural disconnect? Is it that they don't think those players are disciplined enough because they grew up one way and the players don't listen to them? Like if you had to find the roots to theorize why that's happening, where a coach is giving off? I don't like this guy on whose back I'm literally making millions of dollars. Why is that happening? All right.
So let me ask you this.
If I told you about a teacher, like a school teacher who worked for thirty five years. Right. You would assume that on some level that teacher either liked kids or liked working with kids for whatever reason. And what reason would there be like the jump off jump off the top of your head? Why that person must love this on one level or another.
Which one are you talking about? Because I would think that a teacher of kids likes the discovery of learning, of helping, of all that stuff where you find altruism.
Right. And they must love it because they don't get paid enough to do that shit if they don't love it. Right.
These dudes don't have to love it because they like there's a whole different aim and goal, at least it seems to me now, like where it comes from, from being a coach. So, you know, back in the days that you did have guys that were going from being high school offensive coordinators to working in the college game or whatever it is, but there was no real pot of gold on the other end of that. Right. Like, if you were out here working in coach in high school, we could assume that on some level you must like working with kids because otherwise, why are you doing this man, these dudes or parlaying offensive coordinator jobs in the head, coaching jobs in college now in the million dollar, you know, million dollar coordinator gigs now like this is there's a whole different growth element in the way that you can make money and being a coach now that you can get in this just because you want to be not just the coach, but you want to be the rich coach who just so happens in order to do that, you got to work with these players now, like, you have to deal with them on some sort of level.
But I wonder what it's like for a lot of those guys the moment that the switch goes off in their heads and they realize, oh, man, these guys can't do anything to me, you know what I mean? Like a moment that they realize I can talk to him any way I want to and nothing is going to happen. And I imagine that stirs up some and a lot of these people. Right. Like it gets into a certain place for them because I feel like the model for what coaching used to be was born of mandatory conscription.
Right. By Bobby Knight, for example. If you evaluate Bobby Knight in the context of the army, everything else makes sense. But like you think about it in this day and age like that, like Full Metal Jacket, for example, we'll make movies like that anymore.
About who you know is that it's no longer relatable experience to people. And so, like that model of I'm screaming at you because this is just the way that we get things out of you. That's actually not the reason why we're doing that anymore, because everybody now is coming from a different point of origin. You got more coaches that I think are doing like less of the screaming and stuff like that. But I also think you want to be more of them.
That is strictly in this for their own personal reasons and for personal gain. Like Mike Gundy for. Like what they said came out after all of this was that he had basically just stopped talking to his players for years, he got rich, he started doing all the other stuff, and then he had no interaction with these guys.
And I'm like, why in the world would you want to do this if you don't want to work specifically with them?
Why do you think is it diversity or something else? You mentioned diversity, that the PAC 12 messaging is so much different than all the other conference messaging. Even even the Big Ten messaging isn't anything like the PAC 12 messaging, putting racial justice first, adding a dollar sign to it, just stripping it all down and saying, let's make this about transaction commerce here. Give us this and we will play so you can make your money.
Yeah, I think the PAC 12 movement had different advisors, I think is a big part of it. So Ramogi Huma of the National Collegiate Players Association had been working specifically with the PAC 12 guys. And you put out a report that he had done with professor at Drexel that quantified what basically the wealth transfer was from these players communities to the pockets of the universities by extracting their labor and then not giving anything back like it was a key point. And when talking around the PAC 12 guys, a lot of the guys that are at the front there, guys saw that a little bit more clearly in the Big Ten.
They just didn't think now was the time. I don't know when they think the time is going to be, but the PAC 12 guys were much more strident in their belief and not again, not all of some people let it be talked into this. Right. But they were much more strident in their belief that all of this involves compensation, that we can't get this done without compensation. And I think I wonder why. I wonder if anyone's tried to talk to the Big Ten guys.
And I haven't asked this question myself, but, like, you wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be in this situation if there was compensation. I'm wondering and I will let the audience know, the Drexel study he's mentioning there is how these players basically are making a sixth of what they're worth. The generational wealth is going mostly percentage wise to white administrators and not to the guy at Alabama who for in exchange for his education and his books, is getting about one sixth of what it is that he should be getting.
When you talk to these players, what are you surprised to learn from them? Because you've talked to a lot of them in terms of them recognizing what their worth is?
I did talk like one guy I talked to in the PAC 12. He said his big thing was I just didn't think this was a pressing concern. And then he said he looked and he was like, but the way we're going about it is reasonable, right? It is very hard to get college players to think about what they're doing as something other than playing football. Until something happens that's in that bag, so Dominique Foxworth talks about that, for example, he said for him the something that happened was they went to the Orange Bowl his freshman year and then Ralph Reed got a 10 million dollar contract.
And that's when he was like, oh, that's what it is. Jalen Rose said that at five thirty four thirty they did years ago. I think they took a trip to Europe and he looked around and saw people in Fab Five gear and he was like, wait a minute. Right. Like something typically has to trip over for players to realize that this great life that they feel like they have. Right. Like I talked to a guy at clubs and he's like, look, man, you think about this.
You know, I got this brand new laptop here, you know what I mean? He's like, I got all this gear in my closet. I got, you know, whenever we go somewhere, we fly private. You know, all this is really, really, really cool stuff for money.
That is how Don King fooled Muhammad Ali all the time. He put the suitcase of cash in front of him and it was a fraction of the cash that he was actually worth. But that suitcase of cash was unbelievably tempting. Yeah, that's what it is.
So, like, if you're if you're of that age range and you ain't ever really had nothing, you just look, I mean and I don't mean nothing like you're poor. I mean, you say really had like things, you know what I mean? Like, I grew up poor, but we didn't I didn't really have things. And now that you're surrounded by these things in your dorm and you see the facility that you get to hang out and and play football and, you know, your friends that went to smaller schools and they don't have it as good at that place, like it looks like they're giving you everything because you're not at a place where you could conceptualize how much they are not giving.
It's funny that you say that, though, because you say Jalen Rose noticing it in Europe, or Dominique Foxworth, who's really smart and you know how smart he was from even a young age, not seeing it until the Fregene contract.
Every time they walk into the weight room, there's evidence everywhere because of the size of the weight room, like it's so it's so intertwined in the fabric of the sport. They should be seeing it everywhere because everyone's getting rich but them. Yeah.
It's also your friendly reminder that when somebody pays somebody buys a player, they don't pay the kid. Right. Like this. That's the big thing that they should tell you. There's some dude somewhere where there was a six figure transaction in order to get him to whatever school he went to. And he ain't asking to be paid. Like, think about that for a second and be clear. I'm saying that generally I'm really not hinting at any particular person, but No.
One, what the game is, there's somebody that got ball for a lot of money like that is about where are we going to find the money, the people who break the law every day just to get this money, to get these players as people who would love nothing more than to do that. What do you make of what needs to happen specifically here, that I feel like we're going to be disappointed here, that the FCC and the FCC players aren't going to realize this and the movements are going to stop and the PAC 12 season, you know, they're just going to shuffle off and not have to deal with any of this.
Oh, you want compensation? Never mind. We'll just play sports when you don't want compensation. Like who needs to lead the FCC in the ACC guys? What needs to happen for something to change? Because I don't think structurally anything can change unless they threaten to sit out the season.
Well, here's the question. Do you think they're going to play any games in the SEC this year? I don't think that they will.
It's very difficult for me to believe, given what I'm seeing on the Internet from these colleges, that they are going to be in a position where they're going to be able to like, really field football teams for a while, because I think the thing that gets lost in this is even if you think this virus can go and kill the youngsters, all right, maybe it won't be right. Maybe it won't kill the kids. Got you. But if you got 20 of them with it at one time and they got a core team for 14 days, how are you supposed to field a football team like that's going to wind up being the issue is just week to week trying to field a football team in spite of the attrition that is naturally coming up in a football season.
And then you also have the virus on top of that. Right. So the thing to me that I think might happen is if they somehow manage to get this thing on the road and actually play some games and it turns out to be a disaster, what do the players do then? Like when they're in the midst of it?
And I'm not even necessarily saying they talk about walking out right then and there, but what happens if the season gets shut down because of all of this and this one ends up being something for lack of a better term that then radicalizes the players? Right. What happens then or let us not forget that some of these teams are coached by assholes. Right? So these are going to be some of the most untenable circumstances that we could imagine a team being under and IT teams being coached by asshole.
And he's coaching a bunch of adolescents. Basically, they might quit over anything after that point. Like there's no telling how chaotic if they actually try to have this season. There's no telling how chaotic this could ultimately prove to be.
We were laughing on the radio earlier this week about the symbolism at Auburn, where at Auburn, specifically what you know about that school's reputation for education, that the players are out here saying that there's no one on campus wearing a mask. And so you might literally get a situation where they have to tell the players that the safest place for them is outside of class. Do not go to class. We need you to play football. We need you to stay healthy playing football because you're not going to be healthy going to class.
So let me tell you something that I have learned in my travels in talking about college football that does not come up enough, which is they will hit that virtual option on classes whenever it so happens to be necessary. Right. So I know of at least two guys who I have been told through the years they just got to be such big stars that they couldn't go to class anymore. And so they just put them on all virtual, like you're just going to be you're going to do a class on computer from now on.
That, I think, is what you're going to wind up having here. And again, the NCAA swears up and down and they give these kids a full academic experience, but they are about to definitely pull that. Don't get sick on them. And them, do they live in the dorm or the facility. They're going to be between those two places just to make sure they're safe, which is not really going to college.
By the way, you work here. Are you as convinced as these coaches seem to be that they can actually keep these players safer from within the bubble where they're helpless and powerless than elsewhere that they are because they're all saying it, they've all echoed it. And I'm not here to I haven't heard a good argument against what they're saying. But also I find so much of the information around this virus to be unpredictable that I don't know how anyone can say much of anything with confidence as it regards to keeping people healthy.
Well, I mean, I think that there's a certain logic that's kind of unassailable, that they'd be safer if they just kept it between the dorm and the facility. Right. Like the same way I'm safe for keeping myself between the house and the ATM when I need to go there occasionally. Like, I think there's something to that idea. The. The subtext is I felt like a lot of coaches were giving was also and for what it's worth, it is the case with some of them the can't go back element.
Right. Like some of our guys are better off here than they are from the environments from which we have gotten them. I think there's something to that idea. The the problem the colleges are going to have is just the general student body and those people of Domeij and they're going to do dumb things. And in the states where people have been told that masker for wimps, it turns into this whole like other thing. Right. So I agreed with the coaches when the idea was we'll they'll be safer here.
Yeah. If nobody else is there. Right. I, I don't know about you. You told me this.
I hadn't really properly considered and internalized the idea that all these damn kids will be back on campus. Like I kept seeing my friends taking the kids to college.
I was like, oh, you're really going to drop them off like all the other dope. Oh, OK. Got you.
That's going to be such a disaster. There's no chance that any of this can be anything but a disaster.
The Auburn Bar is filled with kids like I don't know how it is that you handle any of that stuff. Your best prediction on what's going to happen, because just understanding that we don't know what's going to happen. But you don't seem to think there's any way the S.E.C. just released its schedulers, you know, in a television show, released its schedule. They're going on as if this isn't going to get derailed. But I feel like you feel it's inevitably going to get derailed.
Yeah, I just I just don't see how it's possible to consistently field a roster with eighty five scholarship players week after week after week in order to get this done. I just don't. I also think something that's been underrated about like the SEC going all conference and then adding two more conference games, a big part of why these schools throw in those cupcake games that you laugh at. Oh, no competition, no man. Your players need a break. Like playing eight SEC games for those guys is monstrous.
And now you're talking about adding to more like especially for those guys. Do you notice that like Georgia and Alabama, they got two weak games added to their schedule? Right. But the teams that they will play it had powerhouses added to theirs. Like you imagine being like Arkansas or Mizzou in both of them, like Arkansas, probably not go win a game this year. And they got two more titans on their schedule to face under this time. I just don't see how you're going to be able to consistently field a good enough team.
And now I've seen this thing with the saliva test and I think that's very, very encouraging that they're going to have that. But it's still only going to tell you somebody's got it after they got it and go change the fact that they got it.
Is there anything else that would give you hope for a college football season beyond the saliva test?
Oh, no, I just don't unless you're going to totally, totally separate them from everybody else on campus. I just don't see how is going to prove to be possible to consistently put a team out that stands. And I get bothered when people act like I'm rooting for like that. Just I mean, it's really not me personally, but those people, they act like any of us are actively rooting against there being a season. And then we also then wind up with people who like I don't want to I don't want to delineate between the real professionals and the not professionals.
Right. But there's different levels of where you are in this game. And people who aren't really up there yet are going to the it's all politics sort of play on this. But the most disturbing and disheartening thing about all of this remains the idea that how you feel about science is a political matter, like not how you feel about a particular point in science, just the whole notion of science. So what do you think about science? Right. Like, so are you into heavy metal?
Like you can't be you can't be like that. Like it's a class you're taking in all your grades.
What have you been impressed by and talking to these kids or something unexpected? Because you've done the reporting on this and you're actually talking to these people. I'm not sure how much change there's actually going to be, though, even if you're impressed by young people fighting for something.
Yeah, man, these dudes are sharp. And the majority of the guys that I've talked to has really, really struck me. Like, I guess I'm getting to that age now where I appreciate this, the youngsters in a different sort of way. But like, I feel like, wow, that's a young man wise beyond his years.
Like, I've found myself say that about a handful of these dudes. But that's the thing that's really struck me about them, is that they're sharp in this struggle like these. These are people that I will be curious myself to keep up with. Well, after all of this is done, like I want to see where they end up. I want to see where they go, because I think that I think that what's happening here, even if it doesn't bear fruit immediately, is an inflection point of sorts.
And I don't know how much these dudes knew going into it what a big deal that was going to ultimately prove to be. But after they found out what it was, they didn't waver. They stood tall.
So what do you think, though, will be the things that change? Do you believe we will? Actually get structural change, because you mentioned something there when you said, well, if not now, when guys, because they're not going to have the SEC, we're going to live the rest of our lives without them having the leverage they have right now. Bomani.
So the question for me on this and is really going to be specific to the PAC 12, because, again, they seem to be a little more gangsta with it than the other conferences.
Right. The back 12 guys there from the beginning on this fine, we don't have a fall season. We going to keep this going to the spring to. They said that they were not going to stop. And I think that I know somebody in that there's a dedication to mobilization and to organize that is not going to stop.
And with the way that they felt that they had been treated by the conference and by Larry Scott in all of this, if they can keep getting people and keep talking and keep building this thing up, then they got a chance to be stronger than they were in this moment. When it comes back around, if they can keep adding people to the movement. But one thing about these movements also is these are, by and large upperclassmen. How long are those guys going to want to be in there?
Well, and what happens when the Justin Fields's of the world are just going running contrary to everything? That's the messaging in your conference that's canceling football.
Yeah. You know, the Justin Fields thing is interesting to me because, I mean, I keep seeing the petition. It's like eighty thousand people have signed a petition. Really? You got eighty thousand people to sign a petition to say, do you like ice cream? Wow, that's hard. That's really hard to do. We got all these people to say they want to watch football.
Is that like it's like telling me anything that's not. And I get but part of what Fields' is saying, because Fields' has been in communication with like with Trevor Lawrence and all these guys in the Voltron forming of the movements. Right. Like he's been involved in that. And what he's saying, I do think is a legitimate point, which is you guys just shut this down and didn't explain it to us. And we would like to know what the reason is.
Right. And I think that there is something to that. The thing that was just really hard to avoid, though, about that movement is outside of fields, all the real visible we want to play guys that we saw at first was all white dudes and they were all being cheered on by white dudes.
And it's worth noting that there are two targets where the black commissioner of the Big Ten and the only athletic director that I've seen individually gets scorned for this is the black athletic director at Ohio State. Now, these things may be entirely coincidental, but it was impossible to ignore all those things as they were happening, that this is where the ire is being directed. So I think there's a point that perhaps there should be some level of explanation. And the big thing that none of these conferences are doing is stop hinting about what the doctors are telling you.
Stop being like, oh, man, if they'd heard. But we heard, there's no way they would have done this. Tell us everything then, because the rest of us need to be scared like hell, too.
You've talked to the Clemson kids. What do you find interesting about the Trevor Lawrence situation?
I have not talked to Trevor himself.
What I find interesting about him from at least this comfortable distance is one he was out there on the Black Lives Matter thing at first. Let's not forget that when this stuff was out there, he decided that he had a platform and that was a way that he wanted to use it. And it seems that what I've gathered in this is that in this time he recognizes the influence that he has and he's leaning in all that. Right. And so one thing about Clemson is so whenever I talk to somebody from Clemson, I also have to talk to them about Dabo.
Right. Because people know that I can be a little harsh on that boat, but I always, again, continue. You've heard me talk about this before. I approach Darbo from a place of humanity. I disagree with things he says. I think he means well in the way that he thinks meaning will is. And I think I don't I don't think he's a bad guy. I think he said some things that I disagree with. Right.
So you can you can give the people, though, the context of how it is you understand the humanity of Dabo here. I know you've said it before on our show, but for those who haven't heard it, go ahead and explain.
Yeah, it's pretty simple, man. It's a 50 year old dude from Birmingham who grew up with an alcoholic father who he went to Alabama as a walk on him. And his mom was sharing a bed because they were that kind of poor like that dude sees where he where he came from and looks at where he is and gets there via football. And he thinks that you can do it to whoever you may happen to be. Now, of course, that ignores like hundreds of years of American history and all kinds of other stuff.
Right. But I get why he thinks that. I understand why he believes these things. And I think that he has some blind spots that come out when he tries to talk about larger issues. But every player of his that I've talked to, they swear by to do. They absolutely do.
And they can ignore that. You can't ignore that, right? When you say every one of them. Yeah.
They believe that he is doing his best. And they also depicting the devil has done with that program is all the players feel heard. Right. They feel they got an open line to the head coach. They got an open line to the athletic director, they got an open line to the president. They've been in communication with all those people. Like as these things have happened, they've been going and talking to those people. Like Clemson has created a program in an environment where it's like, well, if you want to come talk to us and then we'll work together on it.
Right. Like, that's that's where they are. And so it's very interesting to hear them talk about Swinney as they know him. Right. Because he's just one guy I talked to was just like, oh, he's the best in the world, but he really, really swears by it. But I did him a little bit older. And I look at it. I'm like. They listen to you, but they really doing you a favor in the process, they're not obligated to listen to you on any of these things.
Right. Like, it's very nice of them that they're willing to do it. But when Dabo said that he was OK with a players association, but he had a problem with a union, what I told you what you needed to know right there, a union, you're bound. You have to respect it. Union they got all kinds of little committees around the NCAA that have students on them that they call in and they sit down, but they don't listen to what it is they say.
But a union, you're bound to do something based on what they say, you know, and that's where that's the big thing for me with Clemson is all those guys feel very heard and they feel very well taken care of. But I do think that there's a point that if they say, well, actually, association and union are kind of the same thing. I have no idea how it all fall apart like they do to Washington State. The role of those players have been talking to him before the letter went out and felt that he he was behind them and encouraged them.
And then he heard a little bit more about it. And then you heard that tape. I interrupted you before you finished your thought on Trevor Lawrence and the specifics of what it is that he is doing. Did you have something else there?
No, I just think that he I think and Joe Berl may have opened the door for this to a degree, because Joe is a pretty outspoken chap himself.
But I think Trevor Lord knows he's the biggest deal in college football and he knows that people are listening to him and willing to listen to him. And he's leaned in on it. And I think there's something cool about him having the confidence to do that, because that's a lot to take on. Even if he's just sitting out a couple of tweets here and there, that ain't gonna change the world. There's still a lot to decide that you're going to take all of Cartersville, Georgia, or something like that and look into Georgia.
That ain't Atlanta. You know, they necessarily try to hear what he's talking about when he says that, but he did it.
I want more from him, though, because I want him to recognize the sheer amount of power that he has right now, because while Dabo might be nice and sitting you down and listening to you, Trevor Lawrence can absolutely shift some of this simply by lending his voice to something that pushes the boundary even further.
Let me tell you is I really think all important college football need to be glad that Joe Barrow had run out of eligibility because something like a banjo burrow, I come off the season he had last year and then he comes back knowing what we know about him.
Yeah. All right, Bomani, I've told you guys before, check out the right time with Bomani Jones. It is essential listening for you. He has a whole lot of insight that you should be getting the right time with. Bomani Jones. Always good catching up with you, Bo, and thank you for the illumination.
Appreciate you, man.