You are here
Home > Kentucky Football > It’s All About the Money

It’s All About the Money

By Dr. John Huang

It’s all about the money, right?

There’s nothing like a worldwide pandemic to validate the greed behind high-level sporting events. Whether it’s the start of professional golf or the end of the NBA season, the decision to play games is based primarily on the bottom line. Oh sure, the powers that be will give lip service to player and fan safety, but ultimately it’s the dollar signs that drive the decisions.

We always knew that to be true to a certain extent, but Covid-19 has exposed beyond a doubt the money-grubbing cravings of decision makers at the top of the food chain. It’s seedy, smutty, and sullied. As Lee Strasberg said in The Godfather: Part II, “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

We thought Baseball was coming to the rescue

Remember when we all thought Major League Baseball would be the first sport out of the gate to start playing live games? How fitting that America’s Pastime would end up serving as the lifeline to our sports-starved culture. Baseball was certainly amenable to social distancing requirements, and the regional setups were conducive to the constraints of limited travel. Tweak a few things, and we’re ready to play ball, right?

BUT NOOOOO! The incessant bickering between MLB and the players’ union has now pushed the season into never-ending limbo. The latest proposal calls for three weeks of spring training, followed by a 72-game season starting July 14 and ending September 27, and then a 16-team playoff.

Players would be guaranteed at least 80% of their prorated salaries. That’s $1.27 billion in player salaries for the regular season alone—up a fairly significant $300 million from the previous offer. Sounds good to me.

Not so fast, my friend. The MLB Players’ Association is expected to reject the offer. They insist on full prorated pay and an 89-game season—which pushes the World Series into late November or early December. So much for the heroics of a Mr. October. Better break out the sidewalk salt and snow blowers. And isn’t there supposed to be a second Coronavirus wave at about that time?

Sheesh! Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. And while you’re at it, just snip away the rest of your fan base forever. Screw the Reds, I’m going to go watch live NASCAR or the PGA instead.

But it looks like it’s college football instead

Ironically, college football looks like it might actually start on time. That’s something I didn’t think would ever be the case. A bunch of guys in close, intimate contact spitting, spewing, and spatting viral particles in the trenches is not the safe social distancing model I would have drawn up.  

Not surprisingly, the decision to play is driven by—you guessed it—money. Those massive athletic budgets simply can’t take the hit, so we’ll have some form of the college football season whether we’re there to see it live or not. The season might be shortened through conference play only and attendance may be severely limited, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the TV cameras and the mammoth money streams trailing in their wake will be there to soften the disruption.

And once again, players remain pawns in the NCAA money-making machine. Pay no attention to the reports of players testing positive upon their return to campus. Quarantine the suckers. Next man up. The show must go on!

I love sports as much as the next guy, but let’s all acknowledge that we’re in uncharted territory. College football is the last sport that should be playing. We’re dealing with an overly contagious pathogen which is easily spread through shouting and talking. Although the mortality rate among young, well-conditioned athletes appears to be low, the rapid transmission rates to those they come in contact with could certainly be cause for alarm.

Are you ready for UK Football?

The University of Kentucky’s phased return of student athletes has already begun in preparation for the September 5th start to the football season. Plans call for—among other things—daily Covid screenings, proactive education, and providing appropriate personal protective equipment for players and staff.

Even if done properly and conscientiously—and if appropriate precautions are adhered to regarding vulnerable populations—there are still many risks involved. I just hope UK Football’s behemoth $40 million annual budget isn’t ALL that’s driving the decision-making train.

Unpaid college athletes being forced into battle like gladiators in the Roman Colosseum while highly compensated professional baseball players bicker over their already overinflated salaries. None of it makes any sense to me.

To play or not to play—it’s all about the money in this business we have chosen.

Dr. John Huang
Dr. John Huang is a retired orthodontist and military veteran. As a lifelong Wildcat fan, a fledgling author, and an occasional guest host of Just the Cats Radio, he's now living out his dream as a UK Sports columnist. Dr. Huang also covers professional sports on a regional level. You can follow him on Twitter @KYHuangs or contact him If you enjoy his writing, you can also read more at

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply