While I would like to say that the NBA, MLB, NHL, and all of the college’s fall sports are 100% ready to go, I would be lying if I said that were the case. Currently, all professional sports leagues are suspended until further notice. Notably, Major League Baseball has already stated that they probably will not get in all 162 games of their season and are hoping to optimistically begin their season in early June. These games, even if they are able to start that early, will almost certainly be played without fans. Similar projections have been made concerning the NBA, with the basketball league not feeling as much pressure, given that the majority of their regular season has already concluded.
Personally, I believe that these leagues will be lucky to be able to play without fans in July, and I highly doubt that either league will be able to play in front of sold-out crowds until August or September, given the nature of the virus. One frustrating comment made concerning this fall’s NCAA sports came from football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who said that he cannot see an NFL or college football season taking place for the 2020-21 season. To me, this is an extremely irresponsible comment made by one of the most well-known analysts of college football, when we are still five months away from the start of the season. We simply cannot know for sure at this point whether or not it will be safe to play football or any sport for that matter this far in advance.
Currently, scientists are working on several methods to treat the virus, including two anti-malaria drugs, as well as plasma donations from those who have recovered from the virus. Hopefully, these measures can greatly reduce the death toll of the virus long before a vaccine hits the market in 12-18 months. If this is the case, and we are able to reduce the death rate of COVID19 to that of the regular flu, I believe that we could then be safe to resume professional leagues and start collegiate sports seasons on time this fall. If none of these methods prove to be effective, it will likely come down to how quickly we can reduce the number of cases of COVID19. If the virus peaks in a few weeks and then falls, how many cases must remain to safely resume these seasons? What if we see the number of cases rise due to opening up stadiums too early? While I do not have the answers to these questions, what I can say is that it is very clear that the sports world is taking the necessary precautions needed in a time like this, and that it is important to remain cautiously optimistic as we wait for them to resume.
Riley Dulin – Sports Editor