Josh, please accept my apologies regarding Dr. Parker and what he said. You’re right that he did say that early in the interview. I missed that and was quoting what he said with roughly 5 minutes remaining in the video in which he was not specific about which student athletes he was talking about. I was wrong. My apologies.
Regarding knowing your audience, let me try another angle. It’s extremely tough out there for a lot of people right now. Having a dream you’ve spent the majority of your life chasing vanish at age 17 is quite different than losing it at say, age 50. These are kids. Hearts are breaking. Dreams are being crushed. This is a very real and highly sensitive thing for many. So to see someone reduce it all down to something as trite as “woe is me,” yeah, that’s going to net you some feedback that might be worth listening to with an open mind. You’re calling on families to reflect and be open-minded, so I’d hope that what is good for the goose... When this many people are hurting, I’d argue a little more finesse and tact are in order. You get more bees with honey. Yes, for some, the punch to the gut was months back, but many are getting punched right now and will be in the near future. The world is going to hand everyone lots of lemons over the course of their lives, but this is one lemon that could have been better mitigated for many. The NJCAA didn’t just make the mistake this spring. No, there was no ill intent this spring when they gave everyone another year of eligibility. But part of that decision was predicated on a belief that Covid would be largely wrapped up by now. There is now more data and the ability to make much more holistic/better decisions, yet the exact same decision was just made again. THAT is where the pain point exists for many. People are awfully understanding when some semblance of accountability is present. The recent decision was consciously made in the same short-sighted manner as the spring. The NJCAA (and soon to be NCAA) implemented a permanent solution (for many 2021s, 2022s,…) for a temporary problem.
Yes, you do solicit lots of different perspectives. That’s great. I’ve seen you ask tough questions and call people out. But to be frank, I didn’t see enough of that with Dr. Parker. IMO Dr. Parker was allowed to avoid getting into meaningful details around the toughest questions and issues at hand. Again, “keep grinding” was about as close to a solution as he had for high school recruits. He also slipped in a “you’re gonna get an opportunity to play” but provided zero detail to substantiate that claim. What you may have viewed as transparency was seen by others as vague talking points that provided very little substance of value. Most feedback I saw on his comments indicated people were largely dissatisfied and craving deeper explanations that never came. Or will.
Along those lines, there seems to be a fine line between reflection and finger-pointing here. Reflection is good, but finger-pointing seems to have a negative connotation. Me, I prefer the word “assessment.” Yes, families should be assessing their situation, but there’s absolutely value in people assessing Dr. Parker and the like’s decisions as well. Ask #45. Half the country+ have been reflecting, finger-pointing and assessing for the last 4 years. The ability to air grievances and critically examine the decisions that impact us by leaders is fundamentally important to us. And here’s the deal. There are no guarantees whatsoever that Covid will be solved next year. I think there’s a sense out there that 2021 is teed up for some sort of a return to normalcy. Let’s hope that’s the case, but we don’t know that these are the last of Covid-related decisions that’ll come from the NJCAA and NCAA. Those orgs may again find themselves needing to make tough decisions unexpectedly. If we move on and silence our voices under a “suck it up” approach, what message are we sending them? “Keep doing what you’re doing!” This isn’t a pity part for me or my kid. My son is one of the more fortunate ones at this point. But I dearly love this game and the kids who give up so much of their lives for it. I appreciate the truly unique and special time this is in their lives and understand they’ll never have a chance to get it back. I won’t take a “well, at least I got mine” approach here. I can focus on solutions AND still be loud in support of thousands of kids out there. And I will be.
As of yet, I haven't heard a thorough explanation for why more holistic decisions can't be made by theses orgs. I've yet to hear an argument on why it's impossible for them to consider future student athletes into their equation or why the current SA's need to be the only group getting relief. People, LOTS of these SA's are getting TWO years of extra eligibility. TWO! Would only giving them one extra year be an awful thing to do if it means lessening the negative impacts to future student athletes? There's a big problem, but there is strength in numbers. I'd simply like to see the pros and cons distributed out over a larger group of kids - all of which who have some skin in the game.