FAYETTEVILLE – The Miami Marlins may have just harpooned the college football season or at least delayed it.
The Major League baseball team didn’t mean to harpoon anything, of course.
But 11 Marlins players and two Marlins coaches testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus after taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies in their opening weekend series in Philadelphia should have every sport pondering if it can play this summer, fall and even early winter.
Perhaps ditto for a stern review about conducting classes from kindergarten through college.
All collegiate sports ceased, their spring seasons and conducted in the winter championships cancelled upon COVID-19 first being massively reported in the U.S. in mid March.
Schools from elementary through college completed their spring semester conducted strictly online.
Upon the mid-March shutdown, hope generally reigned high that COVID-19 would be reined in with a concerted national effort.
However, the virus, particularly now in the South and West, rages on.
After Power Five conference members Big Ten and the Pac 12 declared in early July because of COVID concerns they would limit 2020 football competition strictly within their own leagues, the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 held out hope in delaying a scheduling plan until the end of this week.
The Marlins’ afflictions don’t bode for SEC and ACC optimism.
The University of Florida plays in the SEC while Florida State and the University of Miami play in the ACC.
Nearly every major program in the country has athletes from Florida, among the biggest recruiting hotbed states in the country and current THE biggest COVID-19 hotbed in the country.
The always prolifically recruited State of Texas isn’t far behind Florida as a COVID-19 hotbed. Texas is represented in the SEC by Texas A&M and in the Big 12 by the University of Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor.
Parts of all 11 states with teams in the SEC have been hard hit by COVID-19 including Northwest Arkansas where the Razorbacks are headquartered.
Last week Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek talked of the SEC evaluating how Major League baseball and NBA basketball handled guarding against COVID-19 while resuming play but also evaluating sports from their kid games roots coping with COVID-19.
“One of the things that goes unnoticed and unmentioned that I think is unique when I talked to my colleagues in our department is there are youth sports happening all over our community,” Yurachek said. “There are youth baseball games, and youth softball games and travel basketball games. Our coaches sit in their offices on weekends and watch basketball games from across the country that have 10, 12, 15 courts going at one time. There hasn’t been a word said about the success of any of those things. I understand the ages of most of those boys and girls playing those sports, but there are sports happening all over the country right now.
Last week maybe that was food for thought. Hard to digest now, though. That harpoon through the Marlins sickens a national sports stomach already sickened by approaching 150,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19.