F. King Alexander fell out of the local news this winter, when he quit LSU and fetched up as president at Oregon State.
But he came out of the shadows last month to take a shot at the Southeastern Conference’s decision to play football this fall.
Oregon State’s conference, the Pac-12 and the Big 10 broke with most of the other football conferences in deciding to postpone the fall season.
In an interview with The Oregonian, Alexander was asked what the Pac-12 sees that the SEC doesn't see.
"I think, probably, reality," he said.
But more and more, it looks like Alexander and the Pac-12 are the ones out of step.
The Big 10, under pressure from taxpayers and fans and President Trump and its own athletes, announced it will play football this fall after all. The PAC 12 followed suit this week.
Another sign that sports fans and athletes are losing patience with shutdowns came closer to home, in Jefferson Parish.
The parish voted to welcome New Orleans high school football teams to Jefferson parks, and teams that are barred from playing in the city by Mayor LaToya Cantrell are jumping at the chance. Then the mayor decided to allow Orleans teams to practice and play after all.
The economic and emotional toll of the shutdowns is getting greater, and Louisianians are recognizing that we need to push forward, rebuild our economy, recover our lives.
The results will be mixed.
The NFL reported that no players missed their Week 1 games because of positive COVID-19 tests.
But last week, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said that “most of our players have caught it," though the team has "about three or four guys" who currently are sick with the virus. He was then chided by his boss, Athletic Director Scott Woodward, for being “a bit too transparent,” although we think that the LSU community and its student athletes deserve more information, not less, before the school begins its shortened SEC season Sept. 26. In addition, most of the baseball team is quarantined.
Nobody is forcing students to play football and nobody is forcing fans to come to the games.
But schools are reopening and athletics are a cherished part of the student experience. At the same time, school officials are aware that cases of outbreaks might require adjustments this fall. That's common sense.
Football is a game of great risk and great reward. It’s hard to coax young people to take the coronavirus threat seriously, but hopefully fealty to their schools and their coaches and their teammates will encourage them to handle the health emergency responsibly.
Editor's note: This editorial, originally published Sept. 21, has been updated.