The Parent Trap: Work, Childcare, and the COVID-19 Pandemic Create Trying Times for Working Families

The Parent Trap: Work, Childcare, and the COVID-19 Pandemic Create Trying Times for Working Families

Working parents are anxious about childcare & virtual schooling while employees without kids are working too much, finds Workforce Institute at Kronos Walmart Inc.’s U.S. e-commerce business nearly doubled in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drew shoppers to its pickup and delivery services, the company said Tuesday. Profit nearly doubled as well in a blowout quarter during a period of economic uncertainty. He likes the transition some of his former teammates have made. Dallas moved Maxi Kleber into the starting lineup in Game 1 against Los Angeles and the Clippers took advantage. Like ordering online for curbside pickup, the one-time bid method for auctions requires more work of potential buyers, but more brokers are using the technique amid restrictions on in-person events. Would a bubble work for BYU? The SEC slicks up its schedule, and Pac-12 television partners have some hurdles to address

Everyone May Be Feeling the “Summer Scaries” Differently, Finds The Workforce Institute at Kronos

As fall rapidly approaches, organizations should pay extra attention to working parents and guardians: According to a survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, nearly three-quarters (72%) of U.S. employees with children under 18 in the household are anxious about balancing the demands of their job with childcare – including school re-openings, virtual learning, and daycare capacity – in the coming months.

“The Summer Scaries Survey” also found employees without children under 18 may need more encouragement to take time off to mentally and physically rest and recharge: Just over a third (37%) have done so since the start of COVID-19, potentially putting them at risk of burning out.

Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos from July 14-16, “The Summer Scaries Survey” is the first benchmarking poll among 1,226 employed U.S. adults, including approximately half with children under 18, to understand today’s work challenges.

News Facts

  • Under pressure: Nearly three out of four employees with children under 18 in the household (73%) say the events of 2020 are causing them enough stress to affect their work.
    • Among all employees, just under two-thirds (62%) agree that 2020’s events – which include the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and upcoming Presidential election – are causing stress which is detrimental to their work performance.
    • Both employees working remotely due to COVID-19 (68%) and employees who worked remotely prior to COVID-19 (64%) feel this year’s stress-inducing events are affecting their work at higher rates than employees still going into a physical workplace (55%).
    • Two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds (66%) and nearly three-quarters (72%) of employees aged 35-44 say stress caused by 2020’s events is impacting their work, which is higher than older age groups, including 45-54 (60%) and 55+ (49%).
  • The brink of burnout: While 58% of employed parents with children under 18 in the household have taken time off from work to mentally and physically rest and recharge during COVID-19, they’re doing better than colleagues without kids.
    • Only slightly more than a third (37%) of U.S. employees without children under 18 in the household say they have taken time off to rest and recharge during the pandemic, a reminder for organizations to encourage all employees to exercise more self-care.
    • Those who are going into a workplace – mainly frontline and essential workers – are less likely to have taken time off over the last five months to rest and recharge (39%) than those who currently work remotely due to COVID-19 (49%) and those who always work remotely (55%).
    • There are generational differences in time-off trends, too: while 58% of employed 18-34-year-olds and 62% of employed 35-44-year-olds have taken time off to mentally and physically rest and recharge since March, less than two in five (39%) employed 45-54-year-olds and only about a quarter (24%) of employees aged 55+ have done so.
    • Safety – and contact tracing – are paramount: Whether an employee has children in the household or not, the majority seem to be concerned with COVID-19 infiltrating their workplace.
      • Nearly nine out of 10 employees (86%) believe their employer has an obligation to notify those who may have been in contact with a coworker who tested positive for COVID-19, including 89% of those who must go into a physical workplace, 86% of parents with children under 18 in the household, and virtually everyone in a high risk age group (55+, 95%).
      • Nearly eight out of 10 employees (78%) say they would not want to risk going into or returning to their workplace if the number of COVID-19 cases was rising in their region. Though, the high number is driven by employees working remotely specifically due to the pandemic (88%), who are far more likely to be concerned about returning to a physical workplace than those who are currently going to a workplace (66%).
      • Supporting Quotes

        • Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos

        “While summer is normally a time for employees to unplug and recharge, this summer has been anything but normal. Return to learning strategies are now on a collision course with the reality of work for tens of millions of parents who, like myself, are trying to make sustainable plans for an unpredictable situation. Now more than ever, self-care and open communication is paramount to reduce the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that everyone – whether a parent or not – is facing in order to reduce the likelihood of burnout later this year and next year.”

        • John Frehse, senior managing director, Ankura Consulting; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos

        “COVID-19 has infiltrated virtually every aspect of work and life for employees, whether they’re part of the present workforce or able to work from anywhere. Instead of doubling down on the way things have always been, now is the time to explore novel strategies, like alternative scheduling practices or financial wellness programs, that could provide employees with the edge they need to overcome the challenges they may be facing in their personal lives. Organizations that find ways to reduce that stress and pressure will be repaid in spades with engagement and productivity.”

        Supporting Resources

        • Note to editors: Please refer to this as “The Summer Scaries Survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos and The Harris Poll.”
        • Subscribe to The Workforce Institute at Kronos for insight, research, blogs, and podcasts on how organizations can manage today’s modern frontline workforce to drive engagement and performance.
        • Kronos and Ultimate Software CEO Aron Ain transforms employee engagement into a growth strategy in “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work.”
        • Connect with Kronos via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

        About The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated

        The Workforce Institute provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforces effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit

        About Kronos Incorporated

        Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on April 1, 2020, to create one of the world’s most innovative HCM and workforce management companies. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

        About Ultimate Software

        Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. To learn more, visit Ultimate Software: People First.

        Survey Methodology

        This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos from July 14-16, 2020 among 2,069 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,226 are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact

        © 2020 Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software. All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.

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        Despite crisis, Walmart’s 2Q soars on e-commerce side

        Walmart Inc.’s U.S. e-commerce business nearly doubled in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drew shoppers to its pickup and delivery services, the company said Tuesday. Profit nearly doubled as well in a blowout quarter during a period of economic uncertainty.

        The world’s largest retailer reported net income of $6.48 billion, or $2.27 per share, for the quarter that ended July 31, compared with $3.61 billion, or $1.26 per share, in the same quarter last year.

        Even after adjusting for one-time items, Walmart’s per-share earnings of $1.56 topped the average earnings estimate of $1.25 per share from 29 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

        Revenue rose 5.6% from last year’s second quarter to $137.7 billion.

        Walmart’s shares closed Tuesday at $134.57, down $1.03, or 0.76%, on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $102 and $137.62 in the past year.

        Company executives said in the report released before the markets opened that government stimulus checks and emergency unemployment insurance helped boost sales of not just groceries but higher-margin general merchandise and apparel items as well.

        Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive, said in a call with investors that shoppers in the second quarter spent more on home-based activities, leading to strong sales in categories like TVs and computing. They also spent more on outdoor entertainment and sports even as they prepared more meals at home, which benefited grocery sales.

        On the other hand, back-to-school shopping “was negatively impacted by the health crisis in terms of timing and demand,” McMillon said. “We have been thoughtful in our approach both in stores and online, and we believe we are well-positioned whether students or teachers work from classrooms or their homes.”

        Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant and president of Spieckerman Retail, said a “powerful combination of factors converged” in the second quarter to drive Walmart’s strong performance.

        “Walmart’s everyday low prices, multicategory breadth, strength in grocery and portfolio of convenient and safe shopping options made it the natural beneficiary as consumers received stimulus checks,” Spieckerman said. “The business was Walmart’s to lose, particularly as competitors struggled.”

        Walmart’s U.S. division, by far the company’s largest, reported net sales up 9.5% to $93.3 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 9.3%.

        Customers continued to consolidate their shopping trips as they did in the first quarter, the company said. They’re making fewer trips, but the average receipt per trip was up 27%.

        The 97% jump in U.S. e-commerce sales, counted under the Walmart U.S. division, reflected many shoppers’ shift during the pandemic to the contactless option of buying groceries online and picking them up curbside or having them delivered. These services continued to experience all-time-high sales volumes, Walmart said.

        In addition, sales at’s marketplace, which includes third-party vendors, grew by a triple-digit percentage, the company said.

        Walmart’s long-awaited subscription service, called Walmart Plus, is still being tested and refined, McMillon said. Touted as Walmart’s counter to Amazon Prime, a $98-a-year subscription includes unlimited, same-day delivery of groceries and general merchandise along with other perks, such as discounts on fuel.

        The service was reportedly to debut in late March or early April, but was pushed to July because of the pandemic, according to Recode. The retailer has not given a new start date.

        Though Walmart Plus is generally viewed as an effort to make Walmart more competitive against e-commerce giant Amazon, “the million-dollar question is what will the cost be to Walmart, and will members be willing to pay for it,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones.

        “Walmart’s core customer makes $40,000 a year,” Yarbrough said. “How many are going to pay that annual fee?”

        But he noted the retailer has been bringing in higher-income customers during the pandemic with its online grocery options. Those shoppers may feel it’s worthwhile if they frequently choose delivery.

        Spieckerman said integrating more categories besides groceries into Walmart’s existing convenience and delivery platforms may have factored into the delayed debut of Walmart Plus.

        “Walmart seems to need more time to work out a differentiated proposition here, one that goes beyond fast groceries and creates more distance from Amazon,” Spieckerman said.

        Walmart’s international division didn’t fare as well in the quarter as its U.S. counterpart. Net sales dropped 6.8% to $27.2 billion. Despite positive same-store sales in seven of its 10 markets, government-mandated store closures in India, Africa and Central America cut into sales there.

        E-commerce in the international division contributed 12% to total net sales, Walmart said, led by omnichannel capabilities.

        At Sam’s Club, Walmart’s members-only warehouse club division, net sales including fuel rose 8.8% to $16.4 billion, and same-store sales grew 8.7%. Both the number of transactions and amount of sales per trip increased during the quarter.

        Sam’s Club’s e-commerce net sales were up 39%, with strong direct-to-home performance.

        The pandemic had a positive effect on membership, which grew more than 60% as shoppers continue to buy necessities in bulk, the company said. Membership income rose 7.8%, which was Sam’s Club’s highest quarterly increase in more than five years.

        Walmart again declined to provide guidance for the fiscal year. As in the first quarter, the company cited too many uncertainties related to the pandemic and its effects on domestic and global economic conditions.

        [CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage »]

        Executives likewise were guarded in answering investors’ questions about their outlook for this year’s Christmas shopping season.

        “Obviously they’re well-positioned with e-commerce and curbside pickup,” Yarbrough said. “The fact that they’re within 10 miles of 90% of the population, and carry lots of different product lines, they’re in a better position than mall-based retailers” for the holidays.

        “If we continue to see a rebound in economic activity and barring a big flare-up in the virus, we could see a decent holiday,” Yarbrough said.

        Spieckerman said that many factors out of Walmart’s control will play into the Christmas shopping season, including ongoing support to individuals and particularly to small businesses.

        “The fate of small businesses is a less-talked-about concern,” Spieckerman said, and “small-business viability is a major factor for Walmart’s success.”

        Still, Walmart will have contingency plans at the ready, she said. Plus, “Walmart’s established platform brings tremendous flexibility. … This will provide a nice buffer for whatever the holiday season brings.”

        “Walmart’s second-quarter performance may well be an anomaly, but the company is better positioned than most to weather any storms,” Spieckerman said.


        Author: Serenah McKay

        Brandon Graham plans to work with the Eagles after he retires

        Brandon Graham plans to work with the Eagles after he retires

        Every time the Eagles have kept Brandon Graham in Philly has been a win, and it sounds like the organization will keep winning even after the DE retires.

        Graham was asked on Tuesday about what it’s like having former teammates Connor Barwin and Darren Sproles still around the building, but on the other side of things.

        “It just makes me happy that those guys are happy with their transition, still into football. And it’s only going to make it better for me. Looking forward to the future when that time comes for me. I plan on working with the team, too.”

        Well, that’s exciting!

        Keeping Graham’s energy and experience around the Eagles organization would be huge, and would be the perfect transition for a guy whose spent his entire career in Philly. Plus, he’ll be able to tell young players for years the story about the time he strip-sacked Tom Brady to win a Super Bowl.

        Heading into his 11th year, Graham is still at the peak of his game. He’s coming off an 8.5 sack season — second career best — with 50 total tackles, including 17 QB hits. He’s an obvious leader on the field and in the locker room, and embraces his role as a veteran to help young players.

        He signed a 3-year contract in spring 2019, so the Eagles at least get him on the field for a couple more seasons.


        Author: Alexis Chassen

        The Mavericks tried to fight size with size in Game 1 — it did not work

        The Mavericks tried to fight size with size in Game 1 — it did not work

        By far the biggest question the Mavericks needed to answer going into this playoff series with the Clippers was how are they would match up with the Clippers’ decided advantage on the wing.

        With Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Marcus Morris, the Mavericks just don’t have enough wings to counter. Dorian Finney-Smith is the only reliable 3-and-D wing on the roster, having Luka guard one of the trio would risk foul trouble and Tim Hardaway Jr. is just not equipped. For Game 1, coach Rick Carlisle tried to fight the Clippers size advantage on the perimeter by beefing up his own lineup, starting Maxi Kleber.

        The results were, uhm, mixed to put it delicately. Leonard, George and Morris combined for 75 of the Clippers 118 points on 29-of-56 shooting (51.8 percent). Kleber guarded Leonard for a good portion of the night and Leonard absolutely smoked him — when guarded by Kleber, Leonard shot 6-of-12 from the floor and scored 15 points and notched two assists. Take away the threes and he was 5-of-7 against Kleber. The Mavericks started the game in an 18-2 hole before making a lineup switch that eventually got them back into the game. That lineup switch was going back to a one-big, five-out offense that had been successful for the team since Dwight Powell’s season-ending injury in January.

        To be fair to Kleber, he did about all he could. Leonard is a monster in the mid-range, shooting 43 percent this season on the fourth-most mid-range attempts. In last season’s playoffs, where Leonard bulldozed his way to a title, he shot a remarkable 49.2 percent from mid-range. Point is, a lot of great defenders have tried to stop Leonard and he routinely beats defenses with the shot defenses are fine giving up. As an aside, Morris was 12th in mid-range attempts this season and shot 44.5 percent on them. Not great when you consider the Mavericks defensive scheme tries to force mid-range jumpers.

        Watching Leonard work against Kleber, Leonard just looked comfortable, despite Kleber’s effort to contest as much as he could.

        What else is Kleber supposed to do on those possessions? I’m not even sure. The more difficult question is if not Kleber, who? Finney-Smith can’t guard three players at once. Shift Finney-Smith over to Leonard (which the Mavericks did throughout the game) and one of George or Morris were able to get off clean looks.

        As the Mavericks were getting run off the floor in the opening minutes, I wondered what data Carlisle looked at to make this switch. The lineup that started Game 1 played just 87 minutes in the regular season and were outscored by 29 points and shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent from three. The lineups featuring the duo of Kleber and Kristaps Porzingis are better: they’ve outscored teams by 46 points in 656 minutes, although the shooting numbers are still pedestrian (43.6 percent from the floor, 35.2 percent from three).

        In Game 1, the Kleber-Porzingis duo played 13 minutes in which the Mavericks were outscored 38-30 and shot just 27.3 from three. It was bad enough that Kleber’s defense didn’t make an impact, his offense vanished too — Kleber scored three points, went 1-of-5 from the floor and had three turnovers. The supercharged small-ball identity the Mavericks discovered after the Powell injury behind a Porzingis at center lineup was gone to start the game, and in its place was a lineup that couldn’t guard well enough and offensively looked lost with the additional shooting and scoring of Seth Curry.

        Exasperating the lineup struggles was the key move Clippers coach Doc Rivers made by putting Ivica Zubac on Kleber and having Morris guard Porzingis. With Morris on Porzingis, the Clippers had an easier time guarding the Luka Doncic-Porzingis pick and roll and Zubac “hid” on Kleber. If the Mavericks started their normal lineup, that’d force Zubac to guard a perimeter player or Porzingis and even if that’s a stand-still shooter like Dorian Finney-Smith, that’s still preferable because at least you could potentially punish Zubac in cross-matches during transition opportunities. Having Zubac guard Kleber felt like a cop-out and completely negated the Mavericks biggest advantage in this series with Porzingis as the lone big on the floor.

        I understand Carlisle’s thinking, but the Mavericks are never going to be a great defensive team with this roster. Stick to what got you here, with your high-powered, historic offense. Plus, Kleber off the bench allows the Mavericks to match up better for when the Clippers bring Montrezl Harrell into the game. The Mavericks options are limited right now with all the injuries and I’m not sure removing one of the few non-Luka ball handlers on the roster from the starting lineup is worth it. With Kleber in, that meant Dallas started three players who aren’t a threat with the ball in their hands past the three point line

        Most of this bore out after the Mavericks calmed down and made some lineup switches in the first quarter. Dallas had a 14-point lead at one point in the first half and it wasn’t by accident. Using Porzingis as the lone big to create hard choices for the Clippers defense along with Curry’s much needed scoring went a long way. Those options just aren’t there with Kleber in the starting lineup. The Mavericks just become entirely too predictable.

        Like I said earlier, however, it’s not like Kleber was bad on Leonard. He guarded him about as well as he could. Knowing that, it wouldn’t shock me if the Mavericks tried the lineup again in Game 2 and just hope for a better bounce. If that doesn’t happen though, hopefully the Mavericks are ready to go back to what they know and stay that way to make the series competitive.


        Author: Josh Bowe

        Farm Sales Will Look Different This Fall, Requiring More Work From Potential Buyers

        Farm Sales Will Look Different This Fall, Requiring More Work From Potential Buyers

        INDIANOLA, Iowa (DTN) — The coronavirus has forced farmland brokers to get creative.

        Typically they’re busy setting their fall auction line-up this time of year, but now they’re also having to take local rules on the size of permissible gatherings into account, said Murray Wise, with Murray Wise Associates, a national ag real estate marketing and auction company headquartered in Champaign, Ill.

        In Ohio, for instance, gatherings are limited to 10 people, including auction employees, which limits the benefit of a public auction.

        “So, now interested buyers are given a password to go online to a dedicated website and get information about the farm for sale,” Wise said. “Then, they submit a one-shot written bid for any of the tracts, individually, any combination of tracts or the total property.”

        The buyer has to fill out a contract, bid submission form and a check for the earnest money, said Eric Sarff, vice president of Murray Wise Associates.

        “Like ordering online for curbside pickup, the written, one-time bid method requires more work on the part of the potential buyer,” Sarff said. “Basically, we are distilling an auction down to the final bids and most interested parties.”

        Sarff said the method has been successful, although it lacks the nervous excitement and adrenaline rush of an in-person farm auction.

        “The ‘one chance, sealed bid’ sale method is a blend of an auction — because it forces action by a certain date — and a private sale, since it is discrete and private,” explained Doug Hensley, president of Hertz Farm Management and Real Estate Services, based in Nevada, Iowa. “We’ve had several farm sales this summer like this and it’s proven to be an effective method.”

        Randy Dickhut, senior vice president, real estate operation at Farmers National Company, based in Omaha, Nebraska, said it’s another tool farmland brokers are using amid the coronavirus pandemic. His company is still holding a few public land auctions in places that allow them, such as Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, “with social distancing, of course,” Dickhut said. “It depends on the location, what’s allowed and the potential buyers. We’ve also had simultaneous online auctions, some strictly online sales and traditional private treaty sales.”


        The coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the market from late March through May, Hensley said.

        “But that, typically, is a slow time for farmland sales anyway because the focus in agriculture is planting a crop.” By June and into July, the market started to more fully function, and going into August, a normal growing season contributed to expectations for stable values and perhaps more land for sale resulting from postponed spring sales, Hensley noted.

        However, the devastating derecho windstorm that flattened row crops and crumpled grain bins across millions of acres in central Iowa and northern Illinois may make some farm owners change their minds about selling, Hensley said.

        “The market is so neighborhood specific. Every 15 miles is a little different,” said Hensley. “One neighborhood could be well off, but if you go 25 miles away, they might be impacted by a disaster, and buyers will sit on their hands.”

        Dairy areas continue to struggle, Dickhut said. “But, in general, we’ve not seen many distressed sales. Those sales often happen outside the market, where the owner will sell to an investor and lease back the farm,” he said.

        In Wise’s 40-plus years selling farmland, he said has never seen such a limited amount of productive farmland available for sale.

        “The past five to six months, it’s like a Mexican stand-off with potential sellers standing around with their hands in their pockets,” Wise said. “A lot of people who thought they wanted to sell land looked at the 2.5% to 3% return they were getting on farmland compared to a mere 15 to 20 basis points return on Treasury bills and said, ‘We’ll keep the farmland for now.'”


        Even though crop prices are low, farmland still is an attractive, safe investment.

        “We have never seen interest rates at levels we’re seeing now. Never,” said Hertz’s Hensley. That makes long-term capital investments attractive. “And while every other asset class has gone through roller-coaster gyrations the past four to six months, farmland has stayed stable.”

        There aren’t many attractive alternative investments, agreed Wise. Retail buildings have lost their luster as more consumer sales shift to online shopping and the work-from-home business model has made office buildings less desirable.

        What this means for potential farmland buyers: “Don’t expect a bargain, even at these low crop prices,” advised Wise. “Farmland values remain steady.”

        © (c) Copyright 2020 DTN, LLC. All rights reserved.


        Scattershooting: Would a bubble work to keep BYU football players safe?

        Scattershooting: Would a bubble work to keep BYU football players safe?

        PROVO — Scattershooting the college football scene … Could BYU find a real protective bubble just a block away? Is the SEC creating a CFP championship pathway? And will Fox and ESPN leave the Pac-12 without TV rights payments for no football in 2020?

        The NBA is very successfully operating inside a protective bubble in Orlando, keeping players away from restaurants, the outside party scene and exposure to the virus, and the league is using a tremendous COVID-19 tool, testing with a simple saliva sample.

        The NBA and NBA Player’s Union funded the creation of a saliva-based COVID test with Yale that is cheaper and quicker than current options.

        This could be a game changer for not only college and professional sports but for all of humanity in these trying times. Testing with immediate results? Since it was developed at Yale, why didn’t the NCAA get into this before the Pac-12, Big Ten and Mountain West canceled their football seasons and many pulled the plug on fall sports? Well, because the NBA funded the study. Kudos to the NBA.

        •. •. •

        The idea has been floated on social media that BYU could heighten its already strict training and practice protocols by putting the football team in its own trendy bubble, the now-vacant Missionary Training Center, just up the street from LaVell Edwards Stadium.

        The MTC has living quarters, cafeterias, meeting rooms, a security system, and can fully house a football team with hundreds of rooms to spare. It would enhance the limitation of outside influences because that is what it was designed for.

        Players could do virtual classwork inside numerous rooms and social distance to their hearts’ content — never be close to the rest of the student body.

        Trouble is, about a third of BYU’s football team is married and it’s a big ask to separate them from their wives, and in some cases, their babies. Also, the MTC is a dedicated facility to serve the missionary operations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which also operates BYU.

        Kalani Sitake could even approach Snow College and ask if the dorms, workout areas, fields and meeting rooms were available for a kind of Camp Ephraim. They could break at times for a quick 18 at Palisades State Park Golf Course.

        •. •. •

        There is growing sentiment that college football players are far more healthy and safe inside their programs that continue operating than being sent back into the community and campus population as universities reopen this week.

        Berry Tramel, the columnist for The Oklahoman who has spent a career covering Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, says it might be better for the colleges to close down and their football teams continue to play because of the virus testing numbers.

        “Those trends are not rare. All over America, the virus is relatively squelched when football players are sequestered, regularly tested, and reminded to stay low-key on a campus that is relatively empty,” wrote Tramel.

        “But when players are back home or get leave from helicopter coaches, or the general student body returns, the numbers spike.”

        The last time Oklahoma tested while the team was on campus and participating in team activities/practice = zero positives

        Oklahoma then tested after the team was let loose for a week = nine positives

        Is it safe to NOT play?

        •. •. •

        The SEC is padding its league schedule to help Alabama, LSU and Georgia create its best chances to slide into the College Football Playoff by making its “extra games” contests against some of the league’s weakest foes.

        This greasing of the skids was examined by ESPN’s Bill Connelly. If the SEC does proceed with its announced schedule, it looks like the top dogs will get the easiest bones to chew.

        Wrote Connelly, “I’m just saying that if that was the goal, giving Alabama the conference’s eighth-best (Kentucky) and 12th-best (Missouri) teams per SP+ for its two bonus games, giving LSU its 12th- and 14th-best (Vanderbilt), giving Georgia its 11th- (Mississippi State) and 13th-best (Arkansas) and giving Florida its 13th-best team would be a pretty perfect way to go about it.”

        It’s 2020, with no competition from Oregon, USC or Utah on one coast and Ohio State and Penn State on the other side of the country.

        Add more grease.

        The SEC’s clear intentions … spring FBS/FCS games … a 1-point HFA … #pods … 4-7 as the new 6-6 … ND in a conference … LA TECH VS. ULM AND THE IRON SKILLET … let’s talk about the fall CFB schedule (whether it exists in a few weeks or not)!

        •. •. •

        The Pac-12 may not be paid for football rights by ESPN and Fox when the season proceeds without games aired. If other leagues play and are on TV, it seems like common sense that Pac-12 television partners would not be liable to cut checks for those canceled games and season.

        The league expects its teams to enact cancellation justification clauses to get out of paying for contracts with games like BYU versus Utah (Sept. 3), Arizona State (Sept. 19) and Stanford (Nov. 28). But ESPN and Fox will struggle to make good on $274 million to the Pac-12 for sports rights fees for 2020-2021. About 80% of that is attached to 45 football games that were to be part of its partnership TV inventory.

        According to Jon Wilner of the Mercury News in San Jose, the Pac-12 and its TV partners will have to come to some agreement, perhaps a future consideration in renewal negotiations to make up for the shortfall. In the meantime, providers like Comcast, Dish Network and Cox have to be paid because they’re billing subscribers for promised sports coverage.

        The Hotline spoke to media industry experts about the $250+ million that ESPN & Fox owed the #Pac12 … and whether the settlement depends on the SEC, ACC and Big 12

        Could there be rebates by your TV providers if they don’t produce Pac-12 game coverage? Maybe. It’s already happened for lack of Major League Baseball games.

        Writes Wilner, “Comcast, Dish, Cox and other distributors pay ESPN and Fox monthly fees for the programming that airs on their systems. Those fees, in turn, are the foundation for the media rights payments that ESPN and Fox send to the conference.

        •. •. •

        And then there is from Penn State’s athletic director Sandy Barbour: He doesn’t remember there being a Big Ten vote to postpone the football season. According to CBS columnist Dennis Dodd, Barbour isn’t the only one saying this.

        “It’s unclear where there was ever a vote or not,” in Big Ten to postpone until spring. @penn_state AD Sandy Barbour.
        Second person I’ve heard say that.


        Author: Dick Harmon

        The Parent Trap: Work, Childcare, and the COVID-19 Pandemic Create Trying Times for Working Families

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