Training camp for the Denver Broncos is in full swing.
The Colorado Rockies are doing their thing on the diamond.
The Denver Nuggets and Jamal Murray won an overtime thriller in the first game of the NBA playoffs.
The Colorado Avalanche peppered the Arizona Coyotes to take a 3-1 lead in their playoff series.
And, college football teams are getting hyped about the start of their preseason camps, with the first game – South Alabama at Southern Mississippi – just 16 days away.
Five months after the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a screeching halt, it’s buzzing again.
Oh, how this stings for the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
A week ago, the Big Ten and Pac-12 – two of college football’s “Power 5” conferences – elected to cancel their fall sports season because of concerns over COVID-19, while their peers in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC continue pushing forward.
Who made the right decision?
That answer isn’t clear right now, despite the bitter feelings by those who aren’t playing.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields created an online petition to request the Big Ten to reverse its decision. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had over 273,000 signatures – and lawyers are getting involved. It doesn’t help that Big Ten officials have lacked transparency throughout the past week.
Fields is one of many players and coaches who have expressed their desire to play, but it’s no surprise. We know they want to play, and the Colorado Buffaloes continue clinging to hope.
CU receiver KD Nixon posted a video on Twitter on Tuesday of him catching a pass on a mostly empty practice field. “I’ll continue to stay ready!” he wrote.
As a guest on CBS-4 on Monday night, Buffs head coach Karl Dorrell said he hopes the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are successful, because, “Maybe it’s an avenue for us to possibly rethink our situation. Who knows?”
Does anybody really know?
Depending on who you ask, it’s either safe to play or it’s not.
A return to sports is easier for the professionals, who can create bubbles and afford more and rapid testing.
It’s not as easy for the college ranks, especially as many schools are now welcoming students back to campus. Along with the Big Ten and Pac-12, the Mountain West and MAC have canceled the fall season, along with the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and the junior college ranks.
Medical experts in the Pac-12 and around the NCAA have made it clear they don’t think it’s safe to play right now.
They might be right.
Oklahoma’s football team had nine positive tests just a few days after students began moving back to campus. North Carolina has reported multiple clusters of cases and Notre Dame – playing with the ACC this year – saw a spike in cases during its first week of classes. Tulsa has also paused football practices after several cases.
If COVID-19 cases continue to spike on college campuses and the teams in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC – as well as the AAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt – have problems, the Pac-12 and Big Ten could ultimately be applauded for their quick decisions.
On the other hand, medical experts in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC have said they think it’s safe to move forward. And even more pressure was put on the Big Ten on Tuesday when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that it’s safe to play high school football in that state.
They might be right.
So far, there have been no reported outbreaks from football practices. And, as some have argued, the college players are possibly more protected in the football environment, where they can be monitored daily by coaches and doctors.
If those conferences aiming to play are able to pull off successful seasons this fall without much of a hiccup, it could be devastating for the Pac-12 and Big Ten, financially and on the recruiting trail.
For now, there are a lot of “ifs.” Perhaps the only way to truly know the correct method in approaching the fall sports season is to have one side pausing and one side playing.
For now, the answer isn’t clear. Pretty soon, however, it will be.