DALLAS -- Straight up: The 2020 sports calendar is irrevocably wrecked. Doesn't matter what happens now, there's no fixing it.
The Dallas Mavericks could come to like living in a bubble, and FC Dallas could avoid infecting the rest of Major League Soccer, and the Texas Rangers could remember to close the lid before flushing. It still wouldn't help. Not enough, anyway.
No one will look back at the most tumultuous year in at least a generation and label it a golden year for sports.
So if it's already a bust, is flip-flopping football really such an awful idea?
Let's face it: At the rate cases are spiking, there's a pretty good chance football might not be an option this fall, either. Might as well consider our options.
Lincoln Riley, for one, has thought about flip-flopping, and he's all-in if it comes to that.
"I think the people who say it's not [an option], in my opinion, just don't want to think about it," the Oklahoma coach told reporters Friday. "I just think it would be wrong of us to take any potential option off the table right now. I think it'd be very difficult to say the spring is not a potential option.
"I, for one, think it's very doable."
Riley's opinion carries some weight, too, and not just because he's the only Big 12 coach these days who can find his way to the College Football Playoff. You might recall he was one of the few coaches who thought bringing players back to campuses so soon this summer was a bad idea. He could end up 2 for 2 on coronavirus questions.
Jason Lovvorn, the high school football coach at First Baptist Academy in Dallas, went so far as to formulate timelines for flopping spring and fall sports. A poll of North Texas football coaches found 84% were in favor of such a plan.
The pluses: Because personal contact makes football and wrestling the most high-risk sports for covid-19, it makes sense to wait for outbreaks to plateau or decline. By February, we might even have a vaccine. Conditions would be more conducive for a flip-flop, too. Warmer weather and not as much rain in the fall, a potential boon for baseball and softball; cooler conditions in the spring, meaning less risk of heatstroke for football players.
The minuses: Football recruits who planned to enroll in college next spring would miss their senior seasons. Baseball players would roll straight from summer leagues to high school seasons with no break, meaning potential risks for pitchers.
Look, no emergency plan is foolproof. Some kids would be affected adversely, no question. But the priority should be to find the best and safest plan possible for the greatest number of athletes.
And let's not forget another reason to give flip-flopping a shot: money. You knew this was coming, didn't you?
Like it or not, football revenue drives everything else in athletics. No college has a rainy-day fund to raid. Consider what happened last week at Boise State, which announced it was cutting its baseball and swimming and diving programs. The athletic director estimated it would save $2.3 million, and even that won't be enough. Because if Albertsons Stadium, with a seating capacity of 36,000, is limited because of coronavirus restrictions to half- or quarter-full this fall, Boise's budget will still come up $7 million to $10 million short.
Certainly, there are no guarantees that crowds might return to games next spring, either, but chances are a lot better than in the next couple of months. I'd rate the odds of even quarter-full stadiums this fall at next to nil. We can't keep neighborhood bars open. What makes you think football fans would practice social distancing once they've had a beer or two or 12?
Even if you make fans sit every other seat, they still have to get up to go to the restroom or concession stand. Who's telling them to maintain a safe distance from each other while standing in an interminable line? Would you like that job? Who listens to reason when her team is down three touchdowns and the line to the women's restroom snakes around the stadium?
What's even worse than all of the above is the notion of playing football in front of nobody. Like a tree falling in the forest, only not as exciting.
At the moment, flip-flopping is all just talk. Granted, it's a pretty big proposition to take on with only a month's notice. But it's just as much of a gamble to hope everything will be normal.
Now's no time to play it safe.