Sports is going COVID crazy
All sane people should agree precautions should be taken with COVID. All sane people should also agree some organizations have severe cases of pandemic paranoia.
Just ask a Vanderbilt student at Tuesday night’s basketball showdown against Kentucky.
Oh, wait. You can’t ask because students are not allowed into Memorial Gymnasium.
In an attempt to curve the COVID spread, Vanderbilt students cannot attend a home game until at least Jan. 24. That might make sense, except for the fact the general public is welcome to show up.
School officials apparently believe COVID is less likely to be transmitted by regular Nashville citizens cramming into bleachers and cheering than by vaccinated students cramming into bleachers and cheering.
Isn't Vanderbilt supposed to be the smart SEC school?
I’d like to see the student reaction if Florida tried that stunt. Or hear the laughter from UF wrestlers if they were told they had to wear paper masks while competing.
Whitley on Gator Basketball:Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy SEC ride for UF
Whitley on the NFL:Brown will always have a job in the Nutty Football League
The Gators don’t actually have a wrestling team, but Arizona State does. Its members are now sporting masks as they tangle with opponents. Based on early results, the masks quickly get smushed out of place as wrestlers tangle in sweaty body-to-body contact.
It makes no sense, but neither does requiring high-school runners to gasp for air through masks as they compete at track meets. Considering how contagious the Omicron variant is, it won’t be long before swimmers are required to wear masks while doing the backstroke.
The people in charge say they are just trying to — as you’ve heard 10,000 times — “follow the science.” The science now says those people have officially gone COVID cuckoo….
Stud of the Week: Brittany Charboneau.
The 33-year-old from Denver became the first person in 29 years to win the “Dopey Challenge” at this past weekend’s Walt Disney World Marathon.
That meant she swept the 5,000-meter, 10,000-meter, half-marathon and marathon races. That’s a total of 48.6 miles over two days. What's more, Charboneau won each race wearing a different Disney-themed costume.
And to Disney’s credit, runners could dress like Donald Duck or Cruella de Vil, but none were forced to wear a mask.
Dud of the Week: KFC, which rolled out its “plant-based fried chicken.” Come now, it’s either a plant or it’s chicken, and I don’t consider fried pea protein “fried chicken.” I doubt Col. Harland Sanders would, either….
Oklahoma's Caleb Williams in transfer portal
NIL Madness: Caleb Williams, Oklahoma’s stud freshman QB, entered the transfer portal and is being offered $1 million to play next season for Eastern Michigan. All together now…
Yep. The investment firm GameAbove Capital is a big EMU booster and would put up the money. I’m sorry, but I’d need at least $2 million to move to Ypsilanti for a year….
Sports Illustrated has started a clothing line, now available at JCPenney (Get your Commemorative Dan Jenkins Sports Bra for $42.95!). Keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement about The Gainesville Sun’s new spring fashions available at Dollar Tree….
Speaking of clothing lines, the Jaguars unofficially have one as a couple hundred fans showed up for Sunday’s game dressed as clowns. It was a red-nosed protest over how the franchise has become a perpetual circus.
Jaguars upset Colts
Duly inspired, the Jags upset the Colts. They still clinched the NFL’s worst record and reportedly have already narrowed the No. 1 draft pick down to Ronald McDonald and Emmett Kelly IV….
This Just In: Eastern Michigan has offered Nick Saban $1 million if he would coach the team in next year’s game against arch-rival Central Michigan. And he can do it remotely from Tuscaloosa….
Novak Djokovic expected to compete
COVID Redux: Lockdown-crazy Australia revoked Novak Djokovic’s visa, but a judge overturned the cancellation Monday. That temporarily cleared the way for Djokovic to go for his 21st Grand Slam title when the Australian Open begins this week.
Djokovic isn’t vaccinated but had COVID and was given a medical exemption by Tennis Australia and two medical panels. In response to Monday’s ruling, Vanderbilt has banned all students from playing tennis until the Australian Open is over….
In non-NIL financial news, Elon Musk made approximately $33.8 billion last Monday when Tesla’s stock value jumped following the fourth-quarter delivery report. For that kind of money, I’d change my name to Ypsilanti and eat a bucket of fried pea protein chicken every day for the rest of my life....
I'd also give $1 million of my $33.8 billion to the first Arizona State wrestler who shows up for a meet wearing a Rey Mysterio mask....
All-Time Greatest Clowns: No. 1 – Bozo. No. 2 – Krusty the Clown from “The Simpsons.” No. 3 – Antonio Brown….
That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. If you see me in Dollar Tree in the next few days, I would be honored to autograph your Gainesville Sun ankle leggings.
— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at email@example.com. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley