The Future of Fall Sports
As I'm sure many of you have heard already, the Ivy League has decided not to do any fall sports for 2020. Here is the link to the press release: https://ivyleague.com/news/2020/7/8/general-ivy-league-outlines-intercollegiate-athletics-plans-no-competition-in-fall-semester.aspx
This is an important moment in the sports landscape because believe or not, Ivy League leads the way when it comes to collegiate athletics and their response to COVID-19. It was the Ivy League who on March 10, 2020, decided to cancel their basketball tournaments, the first to do so. Within the week, all other tournaments followed suit.
I know all eyes were on what the Ivy League was going to announce today. I predict in the next 2 weeks we will know if we are going to have college sports this fall.
This will be devastating to the broadcast industry as people like myself do work in the college sports industry working football, volleyball, soccer, etc.
Locally, here in Washington and the West Coast, I see a grim situation developing.
The Pac-12 Conference is currently experiencing some infighting as they are also navigating what they are going to do with the fall. The budget for the next school year saw a budget cut of 9% to payroll, especially on the Pac-12 Network side. If there are no sports, like there was this past spring. If you have nothing to broadcast, you are not able to sell ads for top dollars which means you are basically staying on air to keep the lights on... maybe.
Getting even more local, here is Washington, the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) issued two weeks ago guidelines for returning to the athletic fields this fall and how the phased reopenings coincide with that. Here is the release for that from June 22nd: https://seaintsol.net/wiaasecure/subcontent.aspx?secid=1240
I'll discuss the perilous issues here before I jump to the latest news. Each county across our state is in different phases. Chelan County where I reside is in Phase 1.5. Before football can even be played, a county has to be in phase 4.
This is problematic as a lot of conferences cross county lines some schools will not be participating.
The next issue is will counties be able to advance to the next stage of reopening to even compete? The way things are going right now, my guess is no as the numbers across the nation are skyrocketing.
This was evident by WIAA's announcement yesterday that they are delaying the start of sports this fall until early September. Here is that release: https://mailchi.mp/wiaa/fall-start-date-580444
I guess my point is this... the signs are not there for college or high sports to return this fall in my opinion. I know that is depressing to hear, but the movements are underway now, early July for this to happen.
All I can say is... stay safe and hope for the best scenario where everyone is safe. If I'm a betting man, I would say this... get ready to enjoy reruns of the 2018 Rose Bowl.