USC BYU Football 02

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) dives into the end zone for a touchdown late in the second half as Southern California safety Isaiah Pola-Mao (21) tries to tackle him during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/George Frey)

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head at the beginning of the hottest month of the year. Spending a few days at Bear Lake last week, even though we had some rain, was a little slice of heaven.

What do you believe?

One of the advantages (or disadvantages) of football independence for BYU is the rumor mill.

Cougar fans live and die with every one, truly. Whether it’s opening the football season with Alabama or Texas A&M, joining the Big 12 or becoming part of a group of power teams that are breaking away from the NCAA, each rumor has sent BYU football fans’ hearts racing this summer.

Turns out most of the rumors are just that and Joe Cougar is once again disappointed. But it’s better than NOBODY talking about BYU, right?

The Big 12 noise is especially frustrating because the move would make so much sense for both parties involved. If not for prejudice and politics, BYU might already be in the league for football. The Cougars walk and talk like a P5 program but can’t get the break they need to make it happen.

That a global pandemic still isn’t likely enough to get BYU into a P5 conference is pretty telling.

#WeAreUnited

Players of the Pac-12 sent a letter to the league this week threatening to opt out of football camp and game participation unless their demands for fair treatment, safety regulations and concerns over racial justice for college athletes are met.

Part of their demands includes reducing the salaries of coaches and conference executives as well as 50% revenue sharing for athletes.

On one hand, there’s no reason that dialogue between players and officials can’t produce some positive results that benefit both parties. The power has never been in the hands of players and they deserve a voice in the process.

On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that sometimes college athletes don’t appreciate what they already have: A free education. Some athletes take much better advantage of this amazing than others.

At least one BYU player, senior tight end Kyle Griffitts, didn’t like the idea. On Twitter, Griffitts wrote, “@ the pathetic Pac 12 players wanting to lower coaches and the commissioners pay and receive 50% of the revenue. Try something to help your cause and not hurt others. Kids are selfish these days and always want more. What happened to playing football for the love of the game?”

They did what?

Of course, the Pac-12 is gonna Pac-12. A story broke this week that the league tried to pay the Los Angeles Times to write positive stories about the conference. The Times is denying they accepted any money but the Pac 12’s reputation is pretty shoddy, so I’m wouldn’t be surprised if they actually made the offer.

Get on the court

The NBA restart has been fun, hasn’t it?

Yeah, the Jazz haven’t played particularly well but it’s good to see competition again. None of the teams have been very sharp but that is expected after the time off. The bubble idea seems to be working to isolate the teams and officials to limit the exposure to COVID-19.

Not all athletes have been able to keep playing. Major league baseball has already had to cancel some games after their restart because players have been ignoring social distance protocols.

Here at home

High school sports in Utah begin this week with soccer matches across the state. I’m interested to see just what is going to happen in terms of social distancing among the fans and teams. Football has had one week of preparation and the first game is scheduled for Aug. 13.

Smarty pants

The BYU women’s volleyball program has earned the U.S. Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award.

The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale.

This past winter semester alone, the Cougars had a combined 3.80 average GPA with Kennedy Eschenberg, Morgan Johnson, Whitney Llarenas, Tayler Tausinga, Grace Wee and Callie Whitney each earning 4.0 GPAs.

If you think maintaining a high grade-point average while playing 30-something volleyball matches and practicing the other four days of the week, think again.

That’s all for now, but for this: Whoever said, “Out of sight, out of mind” never had a spider disappear in their bedroom.

Have a great week, mask up and stay safe.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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