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Fall and Winter Sports in the Spring? Ranking the Most to Least Practical of being Completed

AllSunDevils ranks which sports are most likely to actually happen in Spring of 2021.
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Following the decision made by the PAC-12 to postpone all competitions until 2021, all sports have been continuously exploring options for return in the spring semester. But whether or not the seasons will actually be held or completed remains a huge question mark. Below I will rank the Arizona State sports programs that are affected by this decision in order of most to least practical in regards to having their season completed in the spring of 2021. Let’s dive in.

1. Gymnastics

Gymnastics leads the way and is crowned the most practical sport that can be completed in the spring semester. The main reason stems from the ability to social distance. While it’s considered a team sport, most of the events that are held are individual competitions. Events such as the beam, floor, vault, uneven bars and so forth are all performed by a singular athlete. While the events may take longer, due to added time for sanitization and cleaning of all the mats, bars and equipment to follow safety protocols, the ability of the sport to adapt to location and scheduling conflicts puts this college athletic staple at the top of the list.

2. Men’s and Women’s Golf

Golf comes in as the runner up on the list. While the weather may be an issue early on in the spring semester, no sport can make social distancing easier. All of the athletes use their own equipment and golf balls so that no cross-contamination will occur. As an individual sport with no contact, athletes have a much higher chance of staying safe. The sport is also not as rigorous on the body, and competitors can practice their craft even while away from their universities. If competitions are scheduled in warmer climates, this sport should have no issue being completed in the spring. 

3. Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey

Arizona State’s newest division I program grabs the bronze medal on the list. As the first team sport to appear on the list, hockey players are covered in clothing and padding all over their bodies, which will avoid the transmission of skin-to-skin contact. So even though it is a contact sport, players don’t have to worry, as they also wear helmets that have visors, which can act as a mask. While traveling may be a concern, as ASU is the only hockey school in the Southwest, extra testing may need to be required when leaving for away games. Luckily the Sun Devils may have a good shot on getting back on the ice. 

4. Women’s Soccer

Soccer captures the 4th spot on the list and the second team sport off the board. Even though the game has 22 people on the field at all times, the sport is more niche and requires less media attention than the other major sports. The ball is also not touched by hand that often, other than by goalies and on inbounds. While the weather may play a factor in some regions, the lack of significant physical contact in the sport will help it gain momentum as they try to kick their way onto the field in 2021. 

5. Women’s Volleyball

Sun Devil Volleyball checks in next on the list. The teams will be able to use the net as separation, which will aid in social distancing, and it’s also a non-contact sport. The issues facing volleyball is the possibility of having to share a venue with a more prominent sport in basketball. To add, the ball is touched by every player, which can be cause for concern. Overall, media scarcity shouldn’t be too big of an issue that can help the sports case in playing.

6. Wrestling

Similar to gymnastics, cleaning and sanitation will play a major part in the possibility of the sport having a full season. The amount of bodily fluids and contact may be a concern. But at least competitions are one on one, which lowers the risk of a major outbreak. The sport can also be played in various locations, and the weather will not be a factor. The only other issue is that ASU usually plays multiple schools from all over the country. There will be significant steps in the process to make the sports case for completion in 2021. 

7. Men’s and Women’s Basketball

Basketball checks in at the seven spot, as venue and scheduling conflicts may arise with volleyball. As the second-most prominent sport in the NCAA, all eyes will be on the sport, as to whether or not a tournament will occur in 2021 after the 2020 season got cut short before the big dance. A contact sport with plenty of bodily fluids being flung around is a major cause for concern. At the same time, the ball is touched by every player on the court as well. The plus side is that there are not as many athletes and that the season will only be delayed a couple of months. But completion and an NCAA tournament remains a major question mark. 

8. Football

Checking in last on the list is football. The amount of players and coaches involved in the sport gives teams a much higher chance for a major outbreak. This full-contact sport will also have practice and workload concerns, as trying to do even a shortened football season in the spring semester could lead to issues with the fall 2021 season. Being the money-maker of all sports gives hope that the NCAA will value its season higher than other Division I sports. Still, with other power conferences having a fall season, there are issues with rankings and how all the schools will be able to compete for a national championship. This sport has the most question marks surrounding a spring season, and even though there’s optimism, the chances of a season being held seems slim at this point.

Obviously, the hope around the conference and Sun Devil country is that the virus will have run its course, or a vaccine will have been found by the time 2021 rolls around. A lot of planning and precautions will have to be held in order for these sports to have a chance to be played during the school year. Even though this has never been done before, the conference is doing everything in its power to have sports come back safely during the spring semester.