A sports-free universe
Today was supposed to be the day the Kansas Jayhawks began their march to their fourth NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship, at least if you believe Bill Self, his players, and at least a third of Kansas’ college basketball fans (I’m probably being generous saying there’s an even three-way split between KU, Kansas State and Wichita State, but I’ll keep it simple).
Kansas was a lock to be the number one overall seed for the tournament and would have been playing its first round game today in Omaha’s CenuryLink Center. The Jayhawks would gone against a No. 16 seed and probably would have won by 25 to 30, though nothing is certain after Maryland-Baltimore County waxed overall #1 seed Virginia 74-54 in the first round two years ago.
Unless you’ve been living like the Unabomber prior to his capture, then you know there is no March Madness for the men or ladies in any of the NCAA’s three divisions. The big dances in Division I were cancelled eight days ago, and the rest of the sports world has come to a grinding halt.
This is the biggest disruption in the history of organized team sports, much more so than the previous benchmark, World War II.
The NFL conducted its 1941 championship game only hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and the next few seasons went on, although the Steelers merged one season with the Eagles and another with the Chicago Cardinals.
Major League Baseball played full seasons from 1942-45. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was all but resigned to not having a 1942 season, but FDR encouraged Landis to soldier on. The quality of play was sharply reduced with superstars like Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and numerous others fighting Nazis and samurai, but there was a World Series every year.
Many college football programs had to shut down for at least a year, sometimes longer, but LSU kept on chugging. The Bayou Bengals have fielded a team every year since 1893 except in 1918 due to World War II.
College and professional sports stopped for a few days following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but everyone knew they would come back once the appropriate security measures were taken.
Now? Nobody knows.
I doubt the NBA and NHL seasons can resume. There are no good reasons to continue the regular seasons if either league is able to play again. The seasons are more than 75% complete. That’s plenty to determine playoff brackets. Besides, if either league can’t start before Father’s Day, it would seriously impair the 2020-21 campaigns.
Major League Baseball may be reduced to 100 games if it’s fortunate. That would be the minimum for a legitimate season. Anything less would cheapen the World Series champion.
The NFL will probably not be able to start after Labor Day since teams can’t hold any organized or unorganized activities at their facilities. Football is too complex a sport to properly play without a large amount of practice. The same applies to college football.
The Kentucky Derby has already been postponed four months. I’m sure the Preakness and Belmont will also be pushed back, which might force cancellation of the Breeder’s Cup.
Golf cancelled the last three rounds of The Players Championship last weekend, plus every other tournament through Mother’s Day except The Masters, which was postponed. The PGA Championship scheduled for 14-17 May is postponed as well.
Tennis moved the French Open to after the U.S. Open, meaning Wimbledon is the next major event. There may not be any events, period, until The Championships at the All-England Club.
European football is in dire shape. I can’t see how Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain), Ligue 1 (France), Bundesliga (Germany) and Premier League (England) start again before July. I understand those leagues want to play a full season due to promotion and relegation, but it can’t be done without seriously disrupting the 2020-21 schedule.
As for me, I have nothing to cover. The Kansas State High School Activities Association cancelled all sports until August, coinciding with the order by Kansas’ governor to close all school buildings through the end of the academic year.
Not working is on my mind, but I’m not as worried about it as the pieces of fecal matter hoarding sanitizing wipes, bleach, hand soap, tissues and any other cleaning supply. I smell a soapbox post coming on…but I’ll hold off for now.