Notre Dame Will Welcome Back Students For The Fall Semester

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The University of Notre Dame logo. (PHOTO COURTESY: Wikipedia)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The University of Notre Dame is planning to open its doors for the fall semester. And classes – yes, classes – will be held in-person, not remotely.

Notre Dame, which shut its doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), announced earlier today that the fall semester will begin two weeks earlier than scheduled during the week of August 10 and conclude before Thanksgiving. Additionally, the school will not have an October break.

The University has canceled academic and summer programs through July 6, but the campus has been the home to some students “whose summer work is preparatory for the fall semester,” according to Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” Father Jenkins wrote in today’s announcement about the upcoming fall semester.

While it will certainly be a challenge to bring every member of the student body, as well as the faculty and staff back to campus, Father Jenkins knows for Notre Dame will be prepared to carry out its safety plan, which will include testing, contact tracing, quarantining and isolating, along with social distancing and mask-wearing. Notre Dame said it plans to enhance its “cleaning of all campus spaces,” and has identified certain facilities to house those that test positive or came in contact with someone that has the virus. They also plan to develop signage while utilizing various forms of communication to stay in touch with the campus community.

“As we adapt to the new normal brought on by the coronavirus, we will do everything we can to provide you with a safe learning, research, and working environment,” Jenkins wrote.

While the news should certainly spark excitement for Notre Dame students, there was however, nothing reported about sporting events, including the university’s football team, which is scheduled to play its first game of the 2020 season at home on September 12 against Arkansas

Massachusetts Outlines Plans For Recreation & Outdoor In Reopening

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According to Reopening Massachusetts in Phases, sports, recreation, and outdoor activities could begin as early as next Monday, May 25. (PHOTO COURTESY: VisualHunt.com)

By Matt Noonan

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito unveiled the state’s “Reopening Massachusetts” plan on Monday, which included the phases for sports, recreation, and outdoor activities.

According to the report, beaches, parks, and some athletic fields and courts could open as soon as next Monday, May 25. But when those places do open, the state will ask everyone to abide by the social guidance procedures, which includes covering your face with a mask, washing hands, social distancing, and being vigilant of their respective symptoms.

The second phase for recreation and outdoor activities, which is titled “caution,” would allow campgrounds, playgrounds, spray decks, public and community pools, along with all athletic fields and courts with guidelines. Youth sports could occur during this phase but in a limited fashion.

The third phase – titled “vigilant” – would allow more activities and services to take place, along with youth sporting events and games, as well as tournaments with limited crowd sizes. And the fourth and final phase – the “new normal” – would let all activities take place.

Gyms and fitness facilities can open in the third phase with restrictions and some capacities.

Noontime Commentary: Where Things Stand With College Football

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The question of if and when college football returns should be answered in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Ken Lund on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA)

By Matt Noonan 

For the moment, it appears as if the upcoming college football season is in limbo.

There has been a lot of talk and insight from various minds these past few weeks about the 2020 season. Some think a 12-week campaign is feasible while others are hesitant – can we really play games in the midst of a pandemic?

And then there is the issue surrounding testing. Will there be enough for every player, coach, and team representative? How many times will they need to be tested? And what happens if a coach, player, or team representative contracts the virus? Would that mean Saturday’s game against Clemson University or Florida State is canceled or postponed?

As Notre Dame‘s athletic director Jack Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated last week, “Statistically, if you have 20,000 students on campus, chances are pretty good that some are coming back with the virus. We’ll be testing like crazy.”

Testing will be the key for not just Notre Dame, but every institution – big or small – with keeping students, faculty, and staff safe during these unprecedented times.

While many are anxious for some news and announcements about the upcoming college football season, as well as if and when schools will be open, it appears those decisions should be coming in the next few weeks. And it is possible some decisions such as if and when a fall sports season could occur, may come as late as mid-July.

So, for the moment, we wait and anxiously scour the internet and social media for any breadcrumb we can find about the upcoming college football season, along with the new normal.

What Would Be The Best New England FCS, D-II & D-III Football Matchups?

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What if WPI (left) and Springfield College (right) played against some local FCS and D-II football teams?

By Matt Noonan 

Trying to decipher if and when a college football season will occur this fall remains a mystery to many these days, including yours truly. But what if the upcoming season featured more regional games, specifically contests that saw the various New England FCS teams competing against D-II and D-III squads?

How about D-II and D-III teams squaring-off either under the lights or during a gorgeous October afternoon?

Could it happen? Maybe – I am not entirely sure, but it is an interesting thought, right?

While we may not know if and when a college football season will occur (or officially begin), here are a few ideas for some potential matchups that would be worth watching (or following).

American International College, Springfield College, and Western New England: How about AIC, Springfield, and WNE competing against each other to determine the best football team in Springfield, Massachusetts? Springfield and WNE have met in week one these past few years with the Pynchon SAW trophy on the line – the hardware is named after the city’s founder William Pynchon – so why not add AIC to the mix?

Holy Cross vs. New Haven: The Chargers (New Haven) are currently slated to compete against Dartmouth College in September, so why not play against the Crusaders, who advanced to their first postseason since 2009 last fall? This could be a really interesting game against two teams that finished in the top half of their respective conference last season.

Assumption College vs. WPI: I floated this potential matchup earlier this week in my ‘Noontime Commentary‘ piece about the upcoming fall sports season. I think this could be an interesting game, but I am not sure who would win. These two teams are literally down the road from each other, so we could call this game the ‘Battle of Salisbury Street.’ Thoughts?

Bentley University vs. New Hampshire: After finishing its 2019 campaign with a 6-4 record, I think these Falcons (Bentley) are ready to take on the Wildcats of New Hampshire. Whether this game is played in Waltham, Massachusetts, or Durham, New Hampshire, there would be an interest in this contest with both programs attracting a slew of student-athletes from the six New England states to their respective campus every year.

Harvard University, MIT, and Tufts University: Welcome to the ‘Battle of Cambridge and Somerville!’ Yes, I know there is already the ‘Battle for the Picket Fence’ between Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Somerville High School, so why not have Harvard, MIT, and Tufts compete for bragging rights for both cities? It could be some interesting games for sure, but in the end, Harvard would prevail. Go Crimson!

The CCAA Suspends Fall Sports

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California State Flag. (PHOTO COURTESY: Wikipedia)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Following yesterday’s announcement by California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White about a majority of classes for the upcoming school year expected to be held online, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced they will suspend its upcoming fall sports season

The 13 member NCAA D-II conference, which has campuses in various California cities and towns, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, will not crown champions this fall in men and women’s soccer, men’s cross country, and women’s volleyball.

As noted in yesterday’s announcement, the CCAA member institutions felt it was best to protect the “health and welfare of our students, coaches, staff, faculty, and communities.” The CCAA does hope to provide its student-athletes with an opportunity to compete in the upcoming school year, but only when it is deemed safe for its student-athletes.