By Brody Drake, Staff Writer
About two months ago, as we waited patiently for the first round of March Madness and our athletes trained for their opening games of the spring season, we were presented with the harsh reality of finishing the school year without sports. However, in the last few weeks, we’ve been provided updated information on when different athletic organizations plan on reopening, and what regulations they will include to ensure the safety of their athletes and their spectators. So if you’re interested in watching live sports again, keep reading.
According to ESPN and the New York Times, MLB owners have created a plan that replaces their typical 162 game season with a shortened 82 game one. The tentative starting date for the 2020 season is Fourth of July Weekend. These games will have no fans, and regulations for the game will be in accordance with state regulations where the game is being played. This means that most teams will begin spring training shortly. Some teams, like the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays, have already begun individual practices. Any delays to this plan are most likely regarding the adjusted player salary that the league will pay, as negotiations are still underway in many programs.
Since mid-May, most NBA teams have allowed player workouts where 4 players are allowed to train together. Owners and state officials are scheduled to hold a meeting on how to proceed with the season on Friday, May 29, but there have also been rumors of plans for the 2019-2020 season to resume at one of Walt Disney’s facilities as early as mid July. Some programs, like the Brooklyn Nets, plan on holding team practices after the New York governor announced professional sports teams are legally permitted to resume their training.
20 MLS teams have received clearance to practice, which is the latest update since the ban on league play on practices on March 12. Currently, matches are still prohibited until June 8. The NWSL has opened their practice facilities, but, similarly to the NBA, only for individual and group training. There have been talks of a season-opening tournament at the end of June.
While some teams have opened up their practice facilities, team practices are at a standstill because NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills discussed how COVID-19 testing reliability was insufficient to resume contact practices. The calendar for the upcoming season is still up in the air, and we wait to hear more detail.
The NHL’s plan to cancel the remainder of the regular season and move into the playoffs is still in effect. According to CNN, “The playoffs would consist of a first-of-its-kind 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs tournament with seven teams not resuming their 2019-2020 season.” The two cities who will host the games are still in the selection process. Starting on May 31, a maximum of sixplayers are allowed to skate on the ice at a given time for most NHL teams.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Until then, stay inside and stay safe, Grizzlies.