Only three months into the new decade and the world already has its next big pandemic. COVID-19 has slowed the world to a near halt as entire countries are all but shut down in efforts to stop the spread of this virus.
Sports proved not immune to this catastrophe, as professional and collegiate sports have been suspended until further notice.
After players began testing positive for the virus, the NBA suspended the rest of the season indefinitely. The MLB has postponed opening day until further notice. Many motorsports have also decided to play it safe and put their seasons on hold.
Along with all of that, the NCAA made the decision to cancel March Madness. The NCAA has also called off all other spring sporting events, effectively putting an end to the seasons of thousands of athletes across the country.
However, all athletes who play a sport that takes place primarily in spring have been granted an extra year of eligibility.
The big question then becomes fall sports seasons. With no real timeline for how long the virus will be an issue, it’s hard to say whether the fall sporting season will begin on time and play out as normal.
Fall sports are already feeling the impact of the NCAA suspension, as spring camp for football has already been cut short due to concerns about COVID-19. This has raised concerns about player preparedness for the oncoming season.
“It changed things drastically. We were only two practices in when everything got suspended, ” Weber State University Head Football Coach Jay Hill said. “We will still be developing players in the fall and may not be as developed.”
This means that even if the fall sports can go along as normal, teams and players won’t have as much time to train together. Right now, players and coaches can do little more than wait to see what happens next.
Football, volleyball, basketball and soccer are all sports that take place primarily in the fall months. Not only is this a large chunk of the NCAA’s lineup, but it’s a large chunk of their revenue. In 2017 alone, the NCAA made over $1 billion, so the decision to cancel came with a significant financial cost.
At the end of the day, sports are a business, so professional sports organizations have to be hoping that seasons can progress as normal. However, only time will tell how long players and fans will have to wait before the games begin again.