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Column: A new normal, a weekend without games

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The best part of the bracket reveal is contemplating how far your favorite team can go. And then fill out your bracket. Or brackets.

I missed that Sunday. It might have been fun, even if it were pointless given that the NCAA Tournament would not be played. But it could have been a welcome distraction. Ratings would have been good and CBS could have still sold the advertising time, then donated a portion of the proceeds to a charity (perhaps feeding kids from low-income households since their schools are closed).

There was chatter among national basketball writers that coaches were willing donate their NCAA Tournament bonuses. I wish it would have caught on.

Where would FSU have been seeded and how far could the Seminoles have gone? FSU was a No. 2 seed by CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm, who did a final field of 68. In CBS’s bracket simulation, FSU knocks off Northern Kentucky and LSU to reach the Sweet 16, then Maryland and Baylor on the second weekend. The Seminoles make it to the Final Four but fall to Gonzaga.

Over the weekend, we saw that some had found comfort in watching old games on YouTube. It’s a treasure trove for fans who want to re-live favorite games or can’t recall just who won but want to see a postseason basketball game.

It’s heartwarming to see our creativity and find distractions in the archived games. As for the 2020 bracket, we’ll never know. There is one team that we cheer for as international champion: Scientists.

The week ahead

We won’t have live games but there will be sports news of significance this week. NFL teams are pushing forward with free agency, which will begin on Wednesday but allows for agents to begin talking with teams Monday at noon. Among those who could be looking at a new home next fall is Jameis Winston. Some reports have the Bucs looking elsewhere (potentially Tom Brady) with Winston possibly landing in Las Vegas with the Raiders.

Another NFL storyline to watch is the cancelation of Pro Days. The NFL announced on Monday that the draft will be held on April 23-25 and will be televised but won’t be a public event in Las Vegas. Will athletes have a chance to work out for teams on site ahead of the draft? Cam Akers and Stanford Samuels III had a chance to work out for teams at the NFL Combine but could have helped their draft outlook with further workouts or meetings. And what about those Seminoles and others around the country who were banking on their Pro Day because they didn’t qualify for the combine?

And the year-end college basketball top-25’s and All-America teams will be announced by the Associated Press beginning Tuesday afternoon and running into next week.

One final thought

Regardless of how you feel about athletes being paid for their name, image and likeness, you should be concerned about the lack of uniformity on a state-by-state basis. Legislation is awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature in Florida, and there are bills active in about 20 states. My preference would have included careful consultation with all of the stakeholders – from players and parents to coaches and administrators. Instead, there’s the potential for fast-food legislation with ramifications that haven’t been contemplated.

Here’s hoping that the federal government brings representatives to the table and carefully weighs how to handle an issue that is complex but has been treated as simplistic by politicians.

Comment? Questions for FSU coaches or administrators? Ask them below.

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