Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Putting Public Health First

APRIL 1, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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>> Good Wednesday morning! No foolin' around here.

>> Today's Word Count: 1,324. An easy morning read with lots of great information.

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1.  Putting Public Health First

by Rachel Stern, NCAA

"It was early January — before the U.S. officially had its first case of COVID-19 — and the NCAA’s chief medical officer called a staff meeting.
“Many things were discussed that afternoon, but one thing sticks out vividly,” said Paul Roetert, director of education and strategic engagement for the NCAA Sport Science Institute (SSI), who was at the staff meeting that day. “Brian said we could have a pandemic on our hands.”
Brian is NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, and the pandemic he was referring to was COVID-19.
“When he said pandemic, we all looked around at each other with this look like, could it really be that bad because pandemic is a big word,” Roetert said."

>> Situational Awareness: "The NCAA sent its first memo about COVID-19 to membership in late January, sent another one in mid-February, put together an advisory panel in early March, put together an internal task force a day later, announced championships would be held without fans on March 11, then canceled all remaining winter and spring championships a day later, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. A lot has happened."

>> Background: "As chair of the International Tennis Federation Sports Science and Medicine Commission, (Hainline) was part of a task force that assessed whether upcoming tennis tournaments in Europe and Asia, including Olympic qualifying events, could be played, and if so, where. It became clear those countries were well ahead of the U.S. in terms of preparation, Hainline said. He was becoming increasingly worried that the virus was not only headed here, but the U.S. was behind in infrastructure readiness."

>> Quotable: “SSI looks at sport from a public health point of view. What we are doing on a daily basis is setting public health policy for member schools and student-athletes.” - Hainline.

>> Quotable II: “We had to move fast as more data was coming in, and we had to err on the side of protecting the public’s health. It became clear that there was no way to safely hold these events while still safeguarding the health of our athletes, staff and the general public,” said Vivek Murthy, an NCAA Board of Governors member and former U.S. surgeon general who serves on the advisory panel.

>> Worth Noting: The NCAA national office will extend the suspension of normal building operations in Indianapolis through May 1. All other operations will continue as the NCAA national office staff works remotely. NCAA employees will continue to be accessible through regular communication channels.

>> Go Deeper

2. Force Majeure

by Daniel Marcus, Forbes Sports Money

"Regardless of whether you subscribe to a specific faith or belief system, the phrase “Act of God” is one that most people understand as being an event or occurrence that is beyond the control of humans. Typical examples usually include natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. However, as we have seen from all levels of society, a pandemic of the scale we are currently experiencing was not contemplated by the “powers that be” whose job is to contemplate such things let alone the lawyers who put together contracts and collective bargaining agreements for different sports industry stakeholders.

Force Majeure, which is known by lawyers and non-lawyers alike as the “Act of God” clause is a French term that literally translates to “superior force.” Believe it or not, force majeure clauses are fairly standard in many legal contracts across industries (not just sports) but unless you’re in an industry that is prone to be disrupted by natural disasters or other “acts of god,” it normally gets thrown into the bucket of standard “boiler plate” terms that don’t really get much scrutiny during the course of negotiating an agreement or a transaction. As a general matter, any kind of contract negotiation is an exercise in predicting the future but very few lawyers or drafters had the foresight to predict something like this."

>> Behind the Scenes: The NBA and NHL both have force majeure language in their collective bargaining agreements that would allow owners to withhold a percentage of player's paychecks upon the occurrence of a "force majeure event."

>> Why It Matters: Not every league and stakeholder in sports and beyond have such broadly-worded force majeure clauses, which leaves many companies with a crucial choice as to whether they should inevitably invoke those clauses to relieve them from having to live up to their end up the bargain under the contract.

>> Be Smart: Disputes over force majeure are going to happen across all levels of the economy from vendors to insurance companies to landlords and everyone in between.

>> Read More

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3.  Hit Hard, Not the Same After

John Giannini, shown coaching La Salle basketball, now is Rowan's athletic director.

by Mike Jensen, Philadelphia Inquirer

"The NCAA announced the financial hit last Thursday in a news release: After winter and spring championships had been canceled because of the coronavirus, the board of governors had “voted unanimously to distribute $225 million in June to Division I members to specifically focus on supporting college athletes.”

The real news came in the second paragraph, that the distribution had been budgeted for $600 million. The NCAA had insurance for lost NCAA basketball tournament revenue, but the policy isn’t paying off dollar-for-dollar. The NCAA still hopes to pay off the rest of the distribution using a loan.

However that plays out, lost tournament dollars are just the tip of the iceberg. Most cuts won’t be announced in news releases. Interviews with more than a dozen conference and school administrators and coaches led to the same conclusion: The economic climate in college sports that existed pre-coronavirus, even just a month ago, was vastly different from the one that will emerge post-coronavirus.

The ramifications will be endless. Assume the facilities arms race that consumed big-time college sports for more than two decades could slow to a crawl. Athletic department budgets will be trimmed across divisions. Schools trying to stay open might question the importance of having an athletics program at all.

>> The Bottom Line: “As students ask for room and board refunds we are talking tens of million per school,” said one Division III athletic director.

>> The Big Picture: "With enrollment goals being challenged, impacting budgets, and the fund-raising impact as there is less disposable income, Delaware Valley athletic director Dave Duda said he thought colleges would be affected “across the board.”

>> Between The Lines: “Colleges will close, drop athletics entirely or cut considerably the number of sports they offer," said Joe Giunta, former athletic director at Cabrini and Dickinson and former associate athletic director at Temple.

>> The Final Word: "Let’s not call these ripple effects. More like an undertow, with the endless impacts of this pandemic ripping back to an athletic shoreline that is irrevocably changed."

>> Go Deeper

4.  Comings and Goings

5.  1 Wine Thing

Woman dog laptop fire

With an increasing number of people staying at home due to COVID-19, now is a good time to master the ins and outs of purchasing wine online. Some small wineries ship directly to consumers, but laws vary by state. Online retailers large and small offer breadth, depth and expertise, while digital wine clubs choose the wines for you, delivering regularly to your door.
Here’s everything you need to know about ordering wine online.

>> You're Welcome

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