With the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, the sports world has come to a screeching halt. That includes the University of Florida, which has moved all classes online and has had all spring sports officially cancelled.
What about fall sports though?
“My hope is that we can return to our normal organized activities, experiences, and be part of that celebration around soccer, volleyball, cross country, and football in the fall but we’ll have to see,” SEC commissioner said on a teleconference Wednesday.
On Tuesday the SEC officially cancelled all spring sports, practice and competition, as well as any spring games. That didn’t include the possibility of spring football practices. As of now, spring football practices are suspended until at least April 15. The possibility of practicing remains, but the SEC and Sankey are deferring to national experts when it comes to anything regarding COVID-19, coronavirus.
However, with the current national recommendation that there will be no gatherings of 50 or more people and no more than 10 people in some places, would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to hold spring practice.
The next question would be, well what about fall football? Is it realistic that the fall football schedule would be altered given the current circumstances?
Florida is scheduled to begin the 2020 football season on September 5 against Eastern Washington at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. What if the football team cannot practice until August? Is that enough time to prepare, not just in the sense of learning plays, but getting student-athletes in the physical shape they need to be in to be healthy and safe playing? Is it a real possibility that football could be altered?
“That’s my focus,” Sankey said when asked if football will have a full schedule this fall. “I’m a (glass) half-full perspective person. I have optimism. We have taken measures, as have our colleague conferences at this time. I think if I read those health leaders, we’ll have a period of time to look at the growth of theses cases and we’ll make a decision down the road. For me, my possibility is to continue to support public health decision-making but also be prepared to do our work as assigned to us. ”
Sankey defined that assignment as follows.
“One, to be focused on the work we have. The second is to make sure we’re prepared for next year as planned and the third is to engage in big picture thinking, which is contingency planning but also strategic planning.”
Sankey remains optimistic but the fact is that we as a country simply don’t know how long the virus will affect the country. It’s fine to remain optimistic, but there is a possibility that the virus will not be done running its course and there is a real possibility that sports in the fall could be affected. The SEC is preparing itself for both possibilities and that’s all they can do at the moment.