Numerous Sports, Including College Football, Already Struggling to Return in 2020

Christopher Walsh

A lot of the optimism created by the NCAA Council approving a six-week calendar to start the 2020 college football season on time was dashed on Friday, and it was just by some of the sport's latest developments. 

Among them, Clemson announced that thus far in the month of June, 28 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 315 completed tests. Numerous reports indicated that 23 fo the positive tests were from football players. 

On the side of the country, the Los Angeles Times reported that 30 football players from UCLA were demanding that a "third-party health official" be present at all football activities to ensure coronavirus prevention protocols were being followed.

The players are also asking for whistleblower protections to be provided for anyone who wanted to report violations of any guidelines, as well as the ability to make decisions in regard to personal health without consequences in terms of loss of scholarship or retaliation.

The Bruins are scheduled to return to organized activities on July 6.

Meanwhile, the Southern Heritage Classic between Jackson State and Tennessee State became the first college football game to be officially canceled due to COVID-19.

Yep, it was a rough day for the sport, which is beginning to see more and more problems and obstacles to playing in the fall.

Clemson is far from alone in seeing positive test results from athletes returning to school. A number of programs, including Texas, Houston and SMU, have had college football players test positive for COVID-19 since voluntary workouts resumed. 

There also have been reports of positive tests at Alabama, Kansas State and Michigan.

Alabama finally announced its COVID-19 testing process and protocols this week, which included testing each athlete as he or she returns to campus. However, few schools have the same resources, or setup, which doesn't bode well for the sport as whole.  

Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes it may be impossible for the NFL to host a 2020 season amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Thursday that "it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall." He added that players would have to be "essentially in a bubble" in order to avoid a league-wide outbreak.

Such an option obviously isn't possible with college football. 

Meanwhile, five Philadelphia Phillies tested positive for COVID-19 as a trio of clubs shut down training facilities, followed by Major League Baseball closing all spring training sites in Arizona and Florida. The moves raised even more doubts about professional baseball's 2020 season. 

Florida, where the NBA has been looking at restarting its season, reported 3,207 new coronavirus cases on Thursday (a new record). A CNN report indicated that he Sunshine State has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission," and risks being the "worst it has ever been," according to projections from a model by scientists at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

The NHL released a statement revealing that 11 players have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since small group workouts began last Monday. The Tampa Bay Lightning closed down the practice facility after reportedly five people, three players and two staff members, tested positive. The Toronto Sun reported that Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews did as well. NHL training camps are scheduled to begin on July 10.

In boxing, Top Rank was forced to scrap a lightweight fight between Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre, which was set to headline Thursday night’s nationally televised show in Las Vegas. Neither Pedraza or LesPierre tested positive for the coronavirus, but LesPierre’s manager, Jose Tavares. Top Rank went with a bubble approach, much like the NBA wants to do, but there are only 150 people that come and go each week. 

Golfer Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage tournament in South Carolina prior to Friday's second round after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour announced. Watney was the first PGA Tournament member to test positive for COVID-19. 

And it's still June ... 

Not Even With Dixieland Delight ... 

Here's something that we simply can't get behind, no matter what. 

Soccer has returned to action and while fans are not allowed to attend the games yet, the leagues have found another way to make money: computer generated fans, sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Spain’s La Liga was the first league to give it a try and here's our official review ... 

No. No. No. And heavens no.

We invite you to check it out, but try and imagine this at Bryant-Denny Stadium:

Did you notice?

• MLB players are rallying behind the phrase “when and where” to put pressure on the owners.

• If NFL training camps actually happen, the Chargers and Rams will both be featured on Hard Knocks.

• The biggest sleeper teams in the NBA bubble.

 WNBA veteran Renee Montgomery is sitting out this season to focus on social justice efforts.

The Lighter Side

• The Raiders’ new stadium in Las Vegas has successfully passed its mass toilet-flushing test.

• The baseball team in Portland, Maine, is turning its ballpark into a golf course.

• The Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., is now know as the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. 

• The story on Michael Jordan’s retirement pickup games.

• These are not the droids you're looking for ... 

For more SI Hot Clicks

Comments (4)
No. 1-4
Tyler  Martin
Tyler Martin

Editor

Just thought it would be interesting to share this as well.

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh

Editor

Update:At Least 30 LSU Football Players Quarantined Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh

Editor

Another update: Kansas State just announced it is pausing voluntary workouts for 14 days, after a total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19.

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh

Editor

The NFLPA has advised players to stop players-only workouts for the time being.


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