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                          Blog #181- July 2020

July 2020 is going to be an eventful month for sports in the United States.  Major League Baseball has teams training in their home ball fields now with a possibility of starting a 60-game schedule at the end of this month.  Some top-level players have already indicated that they will not play in 2020 because of personal health apprehension regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA is planning on bringing all teams to Orlando to play at the Disney complex when league play starts again.  Players are presently training alone or in small groups.  The league and the player's union need to agree on health and safety protocols before any kind of competition begins.

The NFL has training camps opening with several players already testing positive for the virus.  League officials have reduced the number of pre-season games from four to two.  The NFLPA wants that number dropped to zero pre-season games.  The length of the season will be determined by the agreement of the owners and players before the season begins.

Major League Soccer was the first league to begin playing.  However, that was cut short when several players were diagnosed as having the virus.  A tournament was cancelled because of the outbreak among players.  

The NHL is working to bring players back and re-start the season.  The player's union wants to make sure that the most stringent health and safety protocols are put in place.  The length of the season will be drastically reduced, with the playoffs beginning first and working up to the Stanley Cup championship in October.

Then there is college football.  Will it be played?  If so, how many games will be played?  Will there be fans in the stands, and if so, how many?  So many questions to be asked and answered.

Football players have been returning to campus for voluntary strength and conditioning work since June 1st.  Formal practices are to begin this month, with opening weekend for games to begin at the end of August and early September.

All fall athletes who returned to campus in June were tested for the virus.  Many football players tested positive and were quarantined.  Athletic budgets have been reduced since spring when all games and competition were cancelled.  The cost for testing will put a big dent in most of the college athletic budgets around the country.

The question of playing football this season rests with the opening of universities to the entire student population.  Many college presidents have declared that fall sports will not happen unless all students are back on campus.  Luckily, every school in the major conferences have announced their campuses will open for all students in the fall.

The big question remains:  Will fans be allowed in the stadiums?  Some league commissioners are putting the onus on the fans themselves.  With many large states like Florida, Texas, and California setting virus records each day, league officials are wary of the public's lack of use of masks and social distancing rules.  

Here's how I see it:  Masks will be mandated if you want to attend any collegiate game.  No mask, no attendance.  I think the college football season will begin as scheduled.  However, if testing following games finds a significant number of players with a positive reading for the virus, then the entire season may/will be shut down.

The American public needs to adhere more judiciously to the health and safety rules being preached by health experts.  The 18-34-year-old demographic seems to be the culprit regarding wearing the masks and social distancing.  They don't want to for whatever reason.  

But all people who are selfishly refusing to wear a mask in public to not only keep themselves safe, but others as well, need to change their attitudes.  America is the worst-off country in the world for virus-related cases and deaths because our president downplayed the severity of the virus for months, has not established a national policy on how to combat the virus, and continues to ridicule the use of masks in public.

Yes, July will be a very important month physically, socially, emotionally, and politically.  If all Americans don't begin to take the virus seriously and protect themselves and others by wearing a mask, we won't need to worry about any kind of sport, amateur or professional, being played because there won't be any games to play.

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