Wed12022020

Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm

Editorial

The Return of College Sports

default article imageWith the sports world around the globe being put on pause for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic; universities around the nation are beginning to bring back their athletic programs with unprecedented precautions.

Monmouth University has taken an integral role in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) athletic procedures heading into the winter season. They plan on proceeding with the winter sports season with limited in-conference schedules and no fans in attendance.

The Outlook continues to report on the constant updates regarding the current COVID-19 athletic conditions, and the editors shared their opinions on how these circumstances have been handled. Many of the editors believe that there is still major risk involved in bringing sports back to campus, but at the same time they agree that athletics are key to the current state of Monmouth.

“Sports do need to carry on,” said one editor. “There are seniors on the teams, and this is their last opportunity to play before graduating. If Monmouth and the other teams follow the right protocols and get tested frequently, I can see how they can safely execute a men’s and women’s basketball season.”

As of now, the plan is for Monmouth men’s and women’s basketball to be the first sports back to campus in December playing conference-only schedules. However, there won’t be fans in attendance until Dec. 23 at the absolute earliest when the MAAC will make their decision on fan attendance.

MU athletics will be offering fan cutouts to make up for the lack of attendance, which can be purchased on their website for $50 each. The status of fans after the New Year is yet to be determined but editors weighed in on how they felt about this moving forward.

“I do not think fans should be attending games at all this year with cases spiking but perhaps if things start leveling off and getting better next year, they can attend the games then,” said one editor. “I am sure there will be a good portion of the student body interested in the fan cutouts being placed in the stands but also a good amount who are not because they are not big sports fans.”

Another editor added, “I think a limited number of fans could attend games if they strictly follow safety protocols like wearing masks and social distancing. And then in the spring, a greater number of fans might be able to attend the football games since it is a larger, outdoor space.”

Monmouth also recently announced their spring football schedule, which will feature four games in the Big South, two that will take place on the road, and two that will be played at Kessler Stadium. Of the eight teams in the Big South, only five have decided to play in the spring with some of the teams having already played games in the fall.

The editors fear the statistics of how many COVID cases have come to campuses from sports teams across the country. According to one editor, “The Asbury Park Press reported last week that 33 percent of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey were tied to sports teams, which is very concerning.”

With the uptick in cases mimicking the early stages of COVID from last spring, the fear of bringing sports back to campus is a legitimate concern. However, as long as Monmouth continues to follow national and conference protocol there is confidence that they will be able to proceed with athletics effectively. 

“Sports play such a large part in not only an athlete’s college experience, but also the students who attend the games,” said one editor. “I think as long as the athletes remain safe and don’t attend social gatherings, there’s a lower risk of spreading the virus to the rest of the team. A big part of it depends on students and athletes themselves.”

 

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

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