Coronavirus in Sports

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Marques Ford

Marques Ford, NFL Draft Prospect, is one of the many examples of players who have had a difficult time preparing for the NFL Draft due to the cancellation of most facilities and camps because of the Coronavirus (Photo courtesy of Marques Ford).

The NBA is over. March Madness is not a thing. The NHL and MLB is postponed. The NFL Offseason is falling apart. Sports are nonexistent. We can thank the coronavirus for this. With the increased risk of people contracting the coronavirus, all sports have been canceled for a temporary period since it is considered nonessential by the government. The positive part of canceling these events is that it limits the spread of the virus, but there are many negatives to it. Before we get started, I want to define what the coronavirus exactly is. According to Harvard Health the coronavirus is “an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections.” The most common symptoms of them are a dry cough, a sore throat, and a fever.

The first group of people being affected are the fans. Whether they are missing out on the experience of being at the game or watching it on television, they lose that sense of pride and enjoyment. No matter the sporting event, it always brings friends, families, and strangers together. Although some may look at sports as a hobby, it is a global market that helps build connections amongst people. On top of that, it brings out emotions that people may have thought they didn’t have. Yes, it sounds like I am talking about a wedding or funeral, but in most ways sports is like that. Without sports, fans no longer have that pride and sense of accomplishment when their team wins or the heartbreak when their team loses.

“I miss being able to put on my television, turn on basketball, and watch Ohio State get buckets. Without March Madness, I won’t be able to experience that moment for a while,” said senior Alex Ross.

Although this next group of people can be grouped together with fans, their pain cuts deeper, much deeper. College Students usually only have four years to make memories that should last a lifetime. When sports got canceled, they were one of the first groups this hurt. Whether it is a freshman or a senior, sports were always something in their life. The one sporting event that is causing them to feel so upset is March Madness. Although only 68 colleges are being represented, those 68 colleges and their students won’t be able to have that experience of their team being in the big dance especially for a smaller school. The perfect example of this is Hofstra University. Hofstra was set to make March Madness for the first time in 19 years after winning their conference championship. Those students knew that going to that school didn’t entitle them to see top basketball, but with this accomplishment many were excited to see what happens. Could they have been a Cinderella story? Maybe. Could they have been blown out? Maybe. No one knows, but the point is not being able to experience this cuts deep.

Transitioning to the other group of people being affected by March Madness being canceled are all of the players. Although some players don’t care since they are entering the draft and plan on being in the National Basketball Association come this summer, 99% of the players do care. Whether it was senior guard Desure Buie, from Hofstra University or Duke freshman, Cassius Stanley, they all regret not being able to truly show their skill level on the biggest stage of their life. They feel hurt knowing they can’t represent their school and pride on their chest as they sprint up and down the court making magic during the game. Although some may say, at least they could’ve had the chance. They didn’t have the chance. Sure, the University of North Carolina may be excited since they are able to have the coronavirus overshadow their miserable season, but that is it. The worst part to all of this is how abruptly it all ended especially for these seniors. Many were looking forward to seeing who they would play come selection Sunday, but one week beforehand it all fell apart. The NCAA canceled the season. On top of that, their small sliver of hope of being granted an extra year of eligibility was taken away from them on March 30, 2020 when the NCAA denied another year. Without knowing what’s next, these players are forced to try and find another way.

“I just want y’all to know when I put on the jersey, I wore that jersey proud, with pride and with a purpose. I gave it all I had & I left everything on that floor… Hofstra will have a special place in my heart…” said senior guard at Hofstra, Desure Buie on Instagram. Reading this quote, you can hear the sorrow in his voice. The coronavirus is taking away from people’s dreams and goals.

In regards to pro leagues like the NBA, MLB, and NHL, they all have had their seasons postponed. As I mentioned previously, all the fans are being affected because they won’t have those experiences again. The other two groups of people that are being affected due to these postponed seasons are the athletes and fellow employees. Although they both play a different role in how they help things run smoothly, they are both losing tons of money over this pandemic. They are losing money because if there isn’t a game to be played and run then they aren’t able to do their job. Due to this all players and some employees are forced to take massive pay cuts. On top of that most employees are losing their job because the owners find them disposable in a way.

“To ensure we can continue to support and operate our businesses during these uncertain times without reducing our workforce, we are asking our full-time, salaried employees to temporarily reduce their pay by up to 20 percent and move to a four-day week,” stated Scott O’Neill, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment.

The last group of people the coronavirus is directly affecting are all the NFL Draft Prospects trying to make a name for themselves. The NFL Draft is going to be held in less than a month and tons of players have declared in hopes to further their career. With that being said many need to workout nonstop to stay in shape as well as work on their skill sets. All gyms and facilities have been closed which has stunted the prospects’ progress in success. A big workout that all players participate in are their pro days. A pro day is a workout held at their respective college where tons of football scouts come to watch players showcase their abilities. All of the workouts that were supposed to happen in the months of March and April have been canceled which takes away from these players being able to participate in them.

“What I heard is that they canceled everyone’s [Pro Day],” said Bethune-Cookman University football player, Marques Ford.

This is a big issue for many athletes, but especially the small school players like Marques Ford from Bethune-Cookman University. It may cause some players to go undrafted and unsigned because they couldn’t showcase their skills at this big event.

Although sports seem like a fun way to keep yourself entertained, it is more than just an activity; it is a business where people find pride and happiness.. As we pray for one another through this stressful time of the coronavirus, let us not forget about all the people who are being affected.