NESCAC RULES CHANGE
On July 10, the NESCAC revised its rules to allow for coaches to train athletes year-round, or until the COVID-19 pandemic no longer affects conference play. The move had to be unanimously approved by the presidents of NESCAC member schools. Under the old rules, players could not have direct conversations with their coaches outside of designated calendar periods, consequently barring any practice. Now, teams such as women’s basketball and men’s hockey can start training as early as they want instead of waiting until November 1.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK?
Even though the NESCAC chose to scrap fall competition, including football, other college conferences are soldiering on. Most of the Power 5 conferences in Division 1 have decided to allow schools to hold games. While many schools are excluding fans from the stadiums, some, like Notre Dame, are allowing fans but limiting capacity. The Big Ten conference voted to delay the start of the season, including football powerhouses like Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. Testing regiments are also being set up by conferences. Most notably, the Atlantic Coast Conference plans to test athletes three times a week. However, 21 of the 65 schools that are a part of the Power 5 conferences say that they will not make testing information public.
A NEW KIND OF BUBBLE
“Bubbles” have been all the rage in professional sports in North America, with the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) both either placing players under quarantine and limiting their contact to only family and teammates, or sealing off the players, coaches and staff from the surrounding community and implementing a rigorous testing program, to finish their seasons and crown a champion. So far, the bubbles have been incredibly efficient in keeping athletes, coaches and staff members safe and healthy. This has not been the case for Major League Baseball, which chose to limit team travel but still allow them to play in their home stadiums and has seen a significant number of games postponed because of increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. However, it is possible to hold seasons without creating a bubble, as many professional soccer leagues in Europe managed to finish their seasons before August.