Daily Noontime (Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone!

As usual, I hope this blog post finds everyone doing well, staying safe, and thinking optimistically.

Before we get to some news and links, I just wanted to pass along a friendly reminder that Election Day is five days away so please make an effort to vote. No matter who you support, your voice matters, and you can visit Vote.org to learn more about how and where to vote.

Alright, let’s get to some news and links, beginning with Major League Baseball (MLB) which is currently investigating – well, more trying to understand exactly why Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgersrefused to comply‘ with league officials during his team’s championship celebration on Tuesday evening.

As for Turner’s teammates (and coaches), they returned safely to the City of Angles yesterday after testing negative for the coronavirus. And hopefully Turner (and his wife) will return to California soon – safely, of course! – but for now, he and his teammates, along with the organization remain “under fire” for their World Series celebration.

The Dodgers are currently the favorites heading into the 2021 season, according to a ‘way too early‘ power rankings from ESPN, while our hometown Boston Red Sox were picked 19th (ouch!). Yes, the Red Sox were not great this summer and fall, but hopefully things change for the better next season (fingers crossed!).

Let’s switch gears to basketball – the college basketball world, to be exact – where this year’s women’s basketball teams may look the same, both this season and next season, due to NCAA allowing student-athletes an extra year of eligibility. Yet, for student-athletes to receive this additional year, they must compete during the current academic school year.

The 2020-21 college basketball season begins next month and promises to be perhaps one of the strangest seasons.

We’ll be back for more later, but don’t forget to listen (and subscribe) to our Noontime Sports Podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify!

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Hello Tuesday – how are you?

From a quick look outside our window, Tuesday look rather gloomy and cloudy – that is in the Boston area, to be exact!

Let’s get to some news (and links), beginning with Major League Baseball (MLB) where the 30-team league “amassed an unprecedented $8.3 billion of debt from their various lender” this summer and fall. The league will also lose between $2.8-3 billion in operational losses, according to Rob Manfred, who conveyed the not-so-great news to Sportico yesterday.

A big reason for the debt was due to no fans in the stands, which is because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And if Manfred and the league does not have fans in the stands next season, which is certainly a possibility, especially in California and New York, then MLB could be face some additional challenges.

The 2020 MLB season could conclude either this evening or tomorrow in Texas – as of now, the Los Angeles Dodgers are one game away from winning their first Fall Classic since 1988. The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, on Sunday in the fifth game of the World Series.

I am thinking the Dodgers will clinch the World Series this evening – just a gut feeling – but I could also see the Rays winning tonight to force a game seven tomorrow evening.

Let’s switch gears to college basketball where we learned yesterday that some early season contests and events that were initially scheduled to occur in Orlando, Florida next month, as well as in the beginning of December, will not happen. The main reason ESPN, which was scheduled to host these tournaments, pulled the plug was so everyone could stay safe and healthy.

ESPN’s public relations team released a statement on Twitter about the tournaments they were planning to host with the following message to their college basketball fans: “ESPN Events set out to create a protected environment for teams to participate in early-season events in Orlando. Based on certain challenges surrounding testing protocols, we opted to resume these tournaments during the 2021-22 season.”

Alright, that will conclude a short and to-the-point version of the ‘Daily Noontime,’ but we will be back with another blog post (or two) later today!

SUNYAC Cancels Winter Sports

SUNYAC Logo (courtesy sunyacsports.com)

By Matt Noonan

Another NCAA D-III conference has announced its plans for the upcoming winter sports season.

Just a short time ago, the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) announced they have canceled the 2020-21 winter season.

The sports impacted by today’s decision are the following: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field.

As noted in this afternoon’s release, which can be seen on the conference’s website, the health and safety of “everyone involved with intercollegiate athletics,” along with each and every campus was why the conference made the difficult decision, according to Erik Bitterbaum, who is the chair of the SUNYAC Presidents.

While this is not the first announcement regarding the upcoming college winter sports season from the NCAA D-III world, it certainly won’t be the last. Earlier this month the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) called off winter sports while the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) has canceled conference play, including championships.

Atlantic Hockey Announces Return To Play

By Matt Noonan

The Atlantic Hockey league is ready to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season.

As announced earlier today, the 11-team conference which includes four teams from New England will return to the ice for its initial weekend of the 2020-21 season on Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14. Each team will compete in 24 contests – it is possible some member could skate 28 times this winter – while all 11 squads will be admitted into the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.

The 2021 Atlantic Hockey championship will return to Buffalo’s LECOM HarborCenter, which is the home rink for Canisius College.

“First off, I’m extremely excited to be announcing we have an approved league schedule for the 2020-21 season,” Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Robert DeGregorio said in a statement regarding the league’s return-to-play announcement. “It’s been a long process, and involved quite a bit of discussion, but it’s a testament to all those involved that we have managed to get Atlantic Hockey on the ice in 2020-21.”

To alleviate the spread of the ongoing coronavirus, the league will seperate its teams into an eastern and western pod. Three Massachusetts teams – Bentley UniversityHoly Cross, and American International College (AIC) – will compete in the eastern pod, along with Army and Sacred Heart University. Every team in each pod will play five games against each other, along with a pair of games against Air Force and Long Island University (LIU).

While today’s announcement certainly excited many within the college hockey world, Atlantic Hockey did state in today’s release that they are “still working to finalize return-to-play protocols for the season” and a schedule, including non-conference games, will be announced at a later date.

“We put this schedule together to maximize the student-athlete experience during such uncertain times” said DeGregorio. “We found a way to schedule up to 28 games while maintaining a focus on the health and safety of all parties by reducing travel times and overnight trips as much as we could.”

Prior to the 2019-20 season being cut short due to the ongoing pandemic, the Yellow Jackets of AIC were in first place with a 21-12-1 overall record, including a 21-6-1 conference mark.

Daily Noontime (Thursday, October 16, 2020)

 

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone! 

It’s quite chilly outside this morning. In fact, I almost ordered a hot coffee from Starbucks but chose a cold brew instead. Was that a bad decision? 

Let’s get to some news from the sports world, beginning with a recent update from the National Football League (NFL): The Atlanta Falcons are shutting down their facility due to “multiple positive tests.” 

What exactly does this mean? We’re unsure, but as of now, the Falcons are scheduled to meet the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, but that game could be postponed or canceled, so stay tuned. 

I am sorry to share not-so-good news (again!), but Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the University of Alabama‘s football team, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, Greg Byrne, who is the school’s athletic director, also tested positive, which means this weekend’s conference clash between the Tide and the University of Georgia could be postponed, but who knows? 

As we noted yesterday on our mid-afternoon ‘Daily Noontime,’ two Southeastern Conference (SEC) football games for this weekend have been postponed. According to this week’s schedule from ESPN.com (as of 9 a.m. this morning), three college football games have been postponed this week. Could we see a few more due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases?  

Staying in the college athletic world, the NCAA‘s Division I Council voted yesterday to provide student-athletes that compete during the wintertime an extra year of eligibility. And according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, those that play basketball or hockey would be able to return to campus next year even if they play one or two contests. 

The NCAA also unveiled 450 host sites for upcoming championships, including lacrosse, which will return to Gillette Stadium in 2025 and 2026

Here are some more news and links from the world wide web: