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Hot Reads: Let Them Watch Tape
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Let Them Watch Tape

April 17, 2020

In what seems like a first step towards the inevitable, though not necessarily imminent, return of college athletics, the NCAA is allowing schools and coaches to do something starting next week.

At the recommendation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association Compliance Administrators, [Division I Council Coordination] committee members voted to allow teams in all sports to require up to eight hours per week of virtual nonphysical countable activities like film review, chalk talks and team meetings. At the request of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the committee also will require student-athletes to be provided at least one day off per week.
All required physical athletics activities continue to be prohibited due to the legislated requirement that a sports-safety certified staff member be present during such activities.

That makes sense. It's at least something these athletes and coaches can do that might feel relatively normal. I did note that the word "require" is used. Hopping online to watch film on Monday at 10 a.m. could, at lest in theory, be mandatory.

I can only speak from my personal experience here, but "require" might be tougher to pull off than many think. My wife, Christina, is a full-time, tenured professor. Like happened to all the rest of us, everything changed overnight for her. One Thursday she was finishing up in-person classes for the week. By the next Monday she was having to figure out how to teach classes––studio classes, specifically––online.

What I have learned while overhearing some of the discussions happening in the classes that are now held from our house is that Christina has done more ad hoc social work and counseling than actual class instruction. And that's OK. Whatever it takes in a unique time.

But it has served as a decent reminder for me that when students had to scatter from campuses around the country, they returned to very different situations. You can require class attendance, or film study in this case, but it's hard to actually require it given the circumstances. And that's all assuming coaches are prepared to start holding team meetings for a group of, say, 28 offensive linemen online. Allowing something is seperate from enacting it.

That said, it made sense for the NCAA to at least allow for it. And, yes, I do take it as a sign that a ramp-up towards trying to get sports back and running for the fall is beginning. (Though I’m not sure not trying is an option.) This latest allowance is good through May 31, which would allow for new recommendations or rules to be put in place for June 1. That's a date that college coaches and administrators keep mentioning as vital for the fate of athletics in the fall.

Staff Picks – Day Whatever

I’ve taken a break from these of late so I can’t remember what number we’re on. Remember what day it is has been difficult enough, so apologies on that front.

I’m going back to Turner Classic Movies for this one. I kind of have a thing for Japanese film from, say, the 1950s through the 1970s, but I had somehow never seen the Lone Wolf and Cub movies. TCM has been showing two films a week from the six-film series for the past two weeks. That means if you’re watching live, only final two movies remain (Tuesday, early in the morning-––or more accurately, overnight––as part of the TCM Imports series). But the films are available on TCM On Demand or the Criterion Channel has them if you’re a subscriber.

Based on a blockbuster manga from the 1970s, Lone Wolf and Cub is the story of an exiled sumarai wandering Japan in search of work as a hired assassin all with his infant son in tow. The son, Daigoro, rides in an adorable wooden baby carriage that, at times, serves as a boat and also a rolling arsenal. That should give you a sense of what you’re in for here. There are Tarantino-like amounts of action here (and blood), which makes sense given the debt Tarantino’s films owe to films such as this. The fourth film in the series, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril, is set in motion by the elaborate tattoo a female assassin gets.

I don’t know about you, but I consider that really excellent stuff. I’m here for all of it. The first two Lone Wolf films were cut together, dubbed and released to American theaters in 1980 as Shogun Assassin. The dialogue from that film is all over Gza’s 1995 album Liquid Swords, meaning I arrived at this thing in reverse order––from the album remixing the remix of the original work. But I’m just glad I eventually got to the source.

The Grab Bag

  • What’s the cost of a lost spring game? Not as high as the cost of lost practices one former Husker told Derek Peterson.
  • Meanwhile, no spring game does mean something of note when it comes to recruiting.
  • Jacob Padilla catches up with Kelly Hunter, who has had an interesting start to what was supposed to be a trial run as a full-time assistant coach. (Premium)

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