Daily Noontime (Friday, Nov. 13, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Friday, everyone – we made it!

It’s been a busy week of blogging to producing some new content for our social channels – we’ll recap it later today in during our Friday Rewind post – but in the meantime let’s dish out a late morning edition of the Daily Noontime.

So tomorrow will be a special day for our New England NCAA D-III football fans with Coast Guard Academy competing against the United State Merchant Marine Academy with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m.

Fans can stream the game between the Bears and Mariners on ESPN3 – here is a preview of tomorrow’s Secretaries’ Cup.

Sticking with college football, some big-time matchups for this weekend have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. So does this mean college football is in trouble? I think so!

According to Sports Illustrated, there seems to be growing concern about not just the remainder of the college football season, but also the college football playoffs. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby knows the college football world is heading into some serious uncharted territory, but as of now, no games and bowls have been canceled, including the traditional New Year’s Day contests, so please remain calm, everyone.

Switching gears to college basketball – what is college basketball again? – it appears as if 40 teams will compete in ‘Bubbleville‘ at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut later this month. 45 games will be played over an 11-day period with the final contests scheduled for Saturday, December 5.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has started its college basketball season, but things have not gone smoothly due to the coronavirus. It’s likely every NCAA men’s and women’s basketball team will be impacted at some point this winter by the virus. And that could mean games – not just a few, but many – will get postponed or canceled.

Alright, that will do it for now, but stop by later and as always, make sure to smile, everyone!

Decisions On The 2020 College Football Could Come This Week

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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 

The debate about if and how college football could be played during a pandemic may be answered this week, especially after a flurry of activity this past weekend between Power 5 conferences convening remotely, per reports, to the Mid-American Athletic Conference (MAC) becoming the first F.B.S. league to cancel its 2020 season.

Last night – Sunday, August 9, to be exact – we learned the Big Ten conference, which met twice this weekend, is leaning toward canceling its football season. And if football is canceled, it is likely both the presidents and chancellors of each institution would pull the plug on other fall sports, too.

An announcement from the Big Ten is expected if not today definitely this week, and pending the league’s final decision on the 2020 fall sports season, it is possible other Power 5 conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) could cancel their respective fall sports seasons or perhaps make tweaks to their newly updated schedules.

While nothing official has been announced by the Big Ten or any Power 5 conference as of this morning, Bob Bowlsby, who is the commissioner of the Big 12, did provide some insight into what leagues might take into consideration when deciding to cancel games this fall: players enduring longlasting cardiac issues from contracting the coronavirus (Covid-19) that may prohibit them from future competition.

As noted in a recent story from Sports Illustrated, team doctors and physicians are worried that youth athletes, who are healthy and may be asymptomatic, could develop life-long heart problems, including myocardial, which causes damage to the heart muscle. It appears this issue is just one of many both presidents and chancellors are grappling with when it comes to making a decision on the 2020 fall sports season.

Here in New England, it appears as if both Boston College and the University of Massachusetts will play football this fall, but it is not a given that either program will play or perhaps complete its entire schedule. It is possible, pending future announcements from the Big Ten and other leagues, that both seasons could be canceled or punted to next spring.

Merrimack College, which competes in the Northeastern Conference (NEC), will have to wait and see if their football team will be allowed to play games this fall. According to last month’s update, the NEC President’s council will reconvene on Thursday, October 1 to assess the ongoing pandemic and see if it’s possible to provide not just the Warriors, but every team in the conference with some form of competition.

Other New England schools, including those that compete at both the Division II and III levels, will not be competing this fall, despite some athletic departments still not announcing that fall sports are canceled. But it is likely those announcements could come if not this week later this month once students return to campus.

At the end of the day, these are not easy decisions, so fans and football fanatics need to respect whatever is announced either today or over the next few days. Yes, no college football in the fall would seem strange, but if these decisions result in keeping the student-athletes safe, along with everyone else involved with college athletics safe and healthy, then we should applaud both the presidents and chancellors for making the right call.

Testing Will Be The Key For College Football

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Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby knows testing will be key for college football players. (PHOTO COURTESY: Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

By Matt Noonan 

Testing, testing, and more testing will be the key for not just any organization to be safe and successful during the ongoing pandemic, but also college football. And that seemed to be the message from Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby when speaking earlier today alongside other college athletic officials during a webinar that was hosted by LEAD1 Association.

When it comes to college football, Bowlsby believes players will need to be tested for COVID-19 “probably every two or three days.” But testing, according to the Big 12 commissioner, isn’t the only thing schools must do to protect their student-athletes. Colleges will need to rethink how student-athletes enter and depart their athletic facilities to coming up with a plan with possibly redoing their locker rooms to making sure shared spaces are sanitized. And of course, the list goes on.

“There are things that are arduous and will take time and will be absolutely essential to the ongoing mitigation of the risks,” said Bowlsby.

Bowlsby admitted colleges, including the schools in his conference, will face different challenges with keeping student-athletes safe compared to professional leagues, which can implement different measures for its athletes. But while Bowlsby, as well as his colleagues, know challenges loom ahead, he does believe this “voyage” everyone is on must lead to innovative thinking with answering the question of how to return students to safely to the playing field.

Said Bowlsby, “This is going to be continual voyage of discovery, and we’ll have to innovate going forward to meet the demands.”