The National Football League (NFL) started its season this week with a game last night between the reigning champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Houston Texans. With an approach more similar to Major League Baseball (MLB) than the National Basketball Association (NBA), the NFL will likely navigate the same uncertainties that the MLB has dealt with: coronavirus outbreaks, players breaking rules and possibly rescheduling games. Further, many players on NFL teams have opted out this season, which has complicated analysts’ predictions of the season. What we know for sure: Tom Brady will be a Buccaneer and Cam Newton a Patriot, and Patrick Mahomes will make almost $500 million in 10 years. Classic NFL.
A new type of madness
Men’s basketball coaches from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) endorsed a plan this week to allow all eligible Division 1 teams to participate in the annual National College Athletics Association’s (NCAA) March Madness competition. The coaches argued that if everyone has the ability to get into the tournament, there will be more incentive from colleges and universities to hold their programs. While this would be fun in a COVID-19-free environment, skeptics worry that the sheer number of teams—up to 346—would make it impossible for all players, coaches and medical staff to be able to be efficiently tested every day and housed in a bubble, like the NBA did this past season. While no decision on the tournament has been made by the NCAA, the association plans to announce whether the season will start on time later this month.
Strapped for cash
With COVID-19 dragging on, the NCAA announced last week that it would furlough 600 of its employees based at its national office in Indiana. Employees will be furloughed for three to eight weeks, depending on when their seasonal duties are, and all furloughs will take place between over the next four months. With the abrupt cancellation of the 2020 March Madness tournament back in March, the NCAA lost its most lucrative operation. Unless tournaments are held again this year, the NCAA may seek additional cost-cutting measures.