In response to the evolving threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, the SEC this evening announced sweeping measures to limit spectators at upcoming conference athletic competitions. The conference basketball tournament is already being played with only essential staff and limited media contact with players and coaches. But the league’s press release tonight goes further:
This seems like a prudent step in the face of a legitimate public health crisis. There’s no good reason to sandwich people into the SEC’s baseball stadiums and gymnastics arenas in the face of mounting evidence that such large gatherings are an epidemiological powderkeg.
A larger question, one which remains unanswered, is how conference members will handle upcoming spring football games. All of them are scheduled following the March 30th reassessment date, with Vanderbilt’s Black & Gold Game first up on Friday April 3rd, South Carolina’s spring game the next day, April 4th. G Day in Athens is set for April 18th.
While that’s only five weeks away, it’s possible (even likely) that we’ll be dealing with a vastly different public health environment by that time. Ohio State and Michigan have both already cancelled their spring games, the NBA this evening suspended its season, and there’s every reason to believe that at least some member institutions won’t be “open” in some sense of the word at that time.
Right now there are far weightier concerns than college athletics. But there’s also no doubt that the coronavirus crisis has begun to extend its fingers into the world of college sports. Y’all stay safe out there, wash your damn hands, and check back for more news. Until later....