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It’s easy to see the small picture.

Too easy.

That’s why it is so important to maintain perspective and not lose sight of what the first priority needs to be.

Case in point, Marshall University’s decision to open facilities for football players to utilize during voluntary workouts beginning on June 1.

Part of that announcement was no other sport would be opened on that date.

That’s all it took.

Almost instantaneously posts and texts started flying from Thundering Herd men’s basketball fans, castigating Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick for opening football workouts but not hoops.

It was a bad rap that was unreasonable.

Which Marshall sport is scheduled to take the playing field first? The football team. The Herd is scheduled to play East Carolina in Greenville, North Carolina, on August. 29.

That makes football the first priority.

It also makes football something else — the guinea pig. Nobody has any idea how all these safety procedures and protocols involving COVID-19 are going to play out. Some will fall in place as expected. Others will have to be adjusted and tweaked.

That’s why only one sport should blaze the trail. It simply makes sense. It also will make it easier for every sport which follows — hopefully — such as men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball.

So, yes, football gets to go first, but it also has to endure all the bumps in the road from dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s just the way it is.

Should the Marshall men’s basketball program feel slighted? Absolutely not. And I’m certain coach Danny D’Antoni, his staff and players don’t feel that way.

Folks, this isn’t about favoritism, it’s about life and death.

Sure, it would be nice to watch true freshmen Obinna Anochili-Killen and David Early workout in the Cam Henderson Center. But there will be plenty of time for that.

The priority was getting athletics going again.

It meant somebody had to go first because the last thing an athletic department should do in this situation is spread itself too thin.

That’s why Hamrick doesn’t deserve criticism on this.

He made the right decision.

REMEMBERING BILL: It was eight years last Thursday when the sporting world lost a special man.

His name was Bill Stewart.

The former West Virginia University head football coach and former Marshall assistant coach was a good man, who was full of life, full of joy and full of football.

Stewart put a smile on just about every face he encountered.

That’s because he usually was wearing one himself.

The world was a better place with Bill Stewart in it.

He is missed.

MU OFFERS KICKER: Morgantown High School rising senior John McConnell recently received his first NCAA Division I football scholarship offer.

It came from Marshall.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound punter and place-kicker is a coveted prospect, who reportedly has made unofficial visits to Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and WVU.

But only Marshall has offered a scholarship.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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