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Greg Maresca | Remnant Columnist

How tragic that in contemporary America a case must be made for the Constitution. 
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Lost amid COVID-19 and its ensuing lockdowns, social distancing and ubiquitous facemasks is any serious consideration and understanding of our longstanding constitutional rights that seem to be nothing more than a passing footnote. 

How tragic that in contemporary America a case must be made for the Constitution.  This was on display when several Pennsylvania counties filed suit against the draconian lockdown imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, where “life-sustaining,” meant whatever Wolf desired.

With the stroke of a pen, Pennsylvania turned into a totalitarian dictatorship and everyone passively acquiesced as COVID damaged not only our economy and educational system, but also our God-given rights that bind all Americans. 

To put things in prospective, during the Spanish Flu of 1918, restrictions did not last more than 50-days. 

Once upon a time, sports was a welcomed respite from everyday life, and in particular, politics.  In contemporary America, professional sports has become an exercise in the leftist antics of spoiled, rich man-children who think nothing of disrespecting the nation that affords them the opportunity and freedom to be who they are. 

Over 50 years ago another leftist upheaval was taking place that produced hippies, free love, rampant drug use, high divorce rates, enormous government growth, feminism, affirmative action and the Novus Ordo Mass replete with folk guitars and felt banners.  Even to a Catholic school first-grader, the “new Mass” just didn’t feel right. 

covid graphic

It was one of those stories that should have headlined across our fruited plain, but in this age of COVID-19 and Trump Derangement Syndrome, it wouldn’t suit the narrative. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their website regarding COVID-19’s deaths and the numbers have been greatly reduced of those who died strictly from the virus. 

“For 6 percent of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,” the CDC’s latest report revealed. “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, diabetes, or heart disease.”  

It was evident that when Kamala Harris emerged on the national scene that her political ambition would not cease with shinning a Senate seat from California. 

Harris quickly made headlines when she claimed that Brian Buescher, who was nominated as a federal district judge, should be disqualified due to his membership in the Knights of Columbus. 

The economy is another way of saying, our lives. No matter what the popular ethos preaches, there is no such thing as a non-essential business.  All businesses are essential for those who work them. 

When government says it is safe to go to Walmart, but unsafe to attend church, and when dentists’ offices must close and Planned Parenthood is open for abortions, the mantra of “your health” is a expedient excuse.     

All 50 states have made a disaster declaration for the first time in U.S. history.  Twenty-two million have applied for unemployment in a number that grows weekly.  We are a $22 trillion economy subdued by a virus with a mortality rate below 0.30 percent.  Those initial models forecasting more than 2 million deaths were bunk.

The politicization of American life continues. Under the guise of player safety (for a virus with a 99.4 percent survival rate and a mortality rate of .0001 percent for young adults),the PIAA, pressured by Gov. Wolf, has delayed the high school fall sports’ season for two weeks. 

Rumors persisted daily over canceling the season and still do.

Collegiately, the autumn anchor for the big five college athletic conferences is football as its revenue stream floats many boats within their athletic departments. Football raises plenty of money, and is an economic vessel for surrounding communities. 

Two of the five, the Big Ten and Pac-12, will not play fall football, but are considering spring games.  The other three conferences – the Atlantic Coast, Big-12, and Southeastern will play, for now. 

For perspective, the U.S. Department of Education reported the Pac-12 made $1.3 billion in 2018-19, while The Big Ten earned nearly $1.9 billion.maresca sports 1

By forgoing football, Nebraska will lose up to $120 million, while Oregon will forfeit $50 million.  Yet some question how coaches can command millions in salary with 42 of the 50 states having an athletic coach as their highest paid public employee. 

Stanford was on board with cutting 11 sports’ teams before they opted out of a football season.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Stanford is anticipating a $25 million athletic budget deficit. 

The financial hole sunk deeper when the NCAA announced it had reduced its disbursements to schools by nearly two-thirds after their annual March men’s basketball tournament was canceled. 

Running football aground even for one season will certainly affect Title IX, and other collegiate sports.  In this era of the aggrieved snowflake do universities dare reduce available women’s sports’ programs? 

Forgoing football is nothing short of a lockout by management, as not playing hurts a player’s potential value to professional teams.  The likelihood of players not recovering from COVID is equivalent to being struck by lightning.  maresca sports 2

Despite the risks of incurring traumatic brain injuries and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), colleges still play football.   Ironically, a “student’s health”, albeit physical or mental, was always a nonstarter – until COVID. 

Moreover, given the risks of CTE, how is football an integral part of the taxpayer-funded mission of public education? 

Granted, athletics provide valuable life lessons, but such instruction does not have to be necessarily realized within a scholarship program.  Likewise, intermural athletic and extracurricular participation is often higher at Division III schools. 

Plenty throughout academia, especially among the smaller FBS schools whose athletic budgets are bled dry through football, would be more than happy to see their school’s program regulated to the haunts of gridiron past like Boston University did a generation ago. Their reasoning has plenty of firepower from exorbitant costs, player injuries, and a dearth of student body allegiance. 

At places like Bucknell, the athletic administration attempts to induce student turnout through giveaways and promos.  It doesn’t work.  Their football program is a major sieve on the overall athletic budget.  It has been nearly a quarter of a century since their last league title.  A dual combination of a title drought and a budget drain could mean a football flush. 

But don’t count on it. 

Bucknell is much too obstinate to consent to common sense.

After all, they won the first Orange Bowl – in 1935. 

The same budget woes concern neighboring universities: Susquehanna and Bloomsburg.   

Why does a conventional college football team need 14 coaches and a basketball team five coaches for 15 players? 

Sports has a place - it should be the tail, not the dog.

COVID-19 can be juxtaposed to a stock market correction, the result of which has the potential for rebalancing priorities. maresca sports 3

Universities need to question what their true mission is.  Evaluate who they serve against those to whom they are subservient. Gauge tuition costs relative to affordability, and the ongoing impact of protracted student debt.  Appraise their departments, their administrators, and the role of tenure.

Provided Uncle Sam got out of the student loan business, such prudence would be taken seriously.  

With undergrads carrying vast student loans and most of them having unexceptional job prospects, why should colleges continue to fund an array of varsity athletics? 

Don’t expect these college presidents that have ignored sending waves of students into a generation of debt to be any more responsible in overseeing and reforming collegiate athletics.  Their indifference to student and family financial burdens is irresponsible, not to mention bewildering. 

What did you expect from tenure? 

When provided job protection, a guaranteed salary and benefits, you become indifferent to reality.    

All savings should be applied to educational outcomes that will ensure the nation outpaces its geo-political rivals in artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering, biotechnology – studies necessary for a country’s innovation and economic growth.

If there are consolations of the 2020 non-season, it is not seeing Oregon in their hideous green uniforms, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh making excuses for losing to Ohio State, and listening to Penn State’s Steve Jones trying to explain the overtime rules and the notorious transfer portal.

November’s election countdown is underway. The political signage has sprouted up among the inescapable roofing, paving, and real estate placards.  On my daily jaunt, there was even one “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) sign among them, nearly equaling the support for Joe Biden (two signs total) in a neighborhood as ethnically diverse as the Augusta National Golf Club.

Unlike the two Biden signs, the BLM one is sequestered away from the road and practically hidden from view.  The sign, situated just off their manicured lawn and in the shadow of their well-upholstered Wayne Manor façade, appears to be a first-degree case of virtue signaling serving as free publicity for the Pied Pipers of Marxism.  

With the recent death of Carl Reiner, some perspective is in order.  The longtime actor, writer, director, and straight man for Mel Brooks believed humor fostered his longevity and his curtain call proved it by enduring two years short of a century.  

For decades, Reiner’s witticisms and wisecracks were a perennial favorite that crossed generations.  He was the last regular of “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour” that had no hidden agenda other than obtaining laughs.  The comedians, writers and producers of Reiner’s era possessed intelligence, imagination and talent.  

Throughout the mainstream media, leftist doomsayers and their cronies in the Democratic Party are all engaged in a synchronized effort to keep people fearful and locked down. Given that COVID-19 is not the killer we were led to believe, it has turned the opening of public schools into a political maelstrom.

Public education is a huge enterprise that spends $680 billion a year with 51 million students and six million teachers and staff complimented by tens of millions of parents.

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Brooklyn stickball days were anything but evident when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Major League’s Baseball (MLB) season’s opener between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals in D.C, proving he doesn’t want anyone catching anything.    

Perhaps Fauci thought he was there to throw out the First Amendment.  

Maybe, Fauci is all bat and no balls, or as the New York Post put it, his pitch had finally flattened the curve straight into the ground.  The screwball attempt was about as accurate as his advice for immobilizing the COVID pandemic. 

If anything, Fauci should be cited for baseball malpractice. 

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