We all remember March 12th.
The day the sports world would stop turning, the day March Madness, MLB, NBA, MLS, and everything we knew was stopped by a virus.
What had been thought of as a joke in the past became extremely serious in the period of 24 hours. As time went on, us sports fans quickly realized this wouldn’t be a quick return. It wouldn’t be a simple return either. There were thousands of different proposals, scenarios and countless other hills to go over before we would see a return to sports. But one issue that is looming in the sports fans mind is what the fans situation will look like. Will there be no fans? 50%? 100%?
All of these are looming issues, especially for a college basketball season upcoming that we can expect to look like nothing we have ever seen before.
Now of course, November is still a long ways away, but we can already get a small idea of some things that will look different. Numerous universities and schools have expanded to where students will arrive in early August, and finish the semester in November in expectation of the “second wave”. Now obviously, we aren’t sure if there will be a second wave at all, but following the health experts guidance is what is best as of right now. Now this fact will mainly affect student sections, if there are no students on campus, obviously there will not be a student section in the stands. That hurts more major schools like Duke and Kansas more than smaller Mid Major level DI’s who struggle to fill up seats full of regular fans, let alone students.
Now, we get to regular fans. The alumni, the people from the towns, etc. This poses a major issue. Thousands of people huddled up in an indoor setting, screaming, lots of contact person to person, this is all a recipe for disaster with a virus 3x more contagious than the common flu. I think it should be commonly accepted, without a vaccine, masks will be required in arenas. Most major schools, such as P6 and even all D1 schools, will probably not be able to fill their arenas with passionate fans without major improvements in case numbers or a readily available working vaccine. D2 through JUCO level athletic events are a different story for a different day, seeing as at a lot of them, social distancing is available and not as many people are flooding in from across the country, and even the world for that matter.
For this season to work, it must be a well-oiled machine. Testing needs to be available for all athletes at all levels, and social distancing must be done to maintain safety for athletes, coaches, and fans. If one person in an arena has it, one-hundred people in that arena may have it. If one player in the locker room has it, an entire group or all of the athletes and coaches, including the opposing teams athletes more than likely have it. No one on this earth knows what November will look like, or tomorrow for that matter, but all we can do is ride this crazy roller coaster and hope for the best with all sports.
Photo: Gerry Broome / Associated Press