Is it time to push the pause button on sports?
Just consider the absolute havoc the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked across our athletic landscape at every single level — high school, college and professional sports.
At the high school level, we had high school football teams that were high seeds in the West Virginia playoffs, yet those squads weren’t allowed to compete in a single game because the county in which they are located was the wrong color on the state’s COVID-19 map.
At the college football level, Marshall had scheduled games scratched against East Carolina, Pittsburgh, Ohio and Boise State, and still might lose games with Charlotte and/or FIU.
Meanwhile, in Morgantown, West Virginia University’s prime-time home game vs. Oklahoma has been postponed to December 12.
That means both WVU and Marshall have been idle for the last two weeks.
At the college basketball level, the Mountaineers’ home opener vs. Youngstown State on Dec. 2 in the WVU Coliseum has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns in the Penquins program.
Then, at Marshall, the Thundering Herd scrambled to play its home opener Friday vs. Arkansas State because the scheduled opener vs. Coppin State on Wednesday fell through due to COVID-19 issues. Also, Marshall has lost a game at Akron originally scheduled on Dec. 5.
In other words, everyone is flying by the seat of their COVID-19 pants. And it isn’t going very well.
So far, 48 college basketball programs have had to pause all activities due to coronavirus protocols. Binghamton is just one of nine programs located in New York state alone that has had to suspend basketball activities.
Then there’s Tennessee. The Volunteers are on hold because head coach Rick Barnes tested positive. The same is true for Baylor coach Scott Drew. The Bears backed out of the Empire Classic because of it.
At Marshall, there was a pair of 14-day stoppages in all basketball activities, which led to a ragged offensive performance in the Herd’s 70-56 win over Arkansas State Friday afternoon in the Henderson Center.
Will the Herd improve its usual high-scoring offense? Probably. Unless, of course, there are additional coronavirus protocol problems that could put MU on hiatus again.
Meanwhile, in college football, five games were canceled or postponed Saturday. Oklahoma at WVU and Tulsa at Houston were postponed, while Ohio State at Illinois, Minnesota at Wisconsin and Cincinnati at Temple were canceled.
Speaking of Oklahoma, besides the COVID-19 problems in the football program, the Sooners’ basketball program also has paused all activities. That led to Oklahoma postponing games vs. UTSA and at UCF.
And don’t forget Nick Saban. Alabama’s decorated head coach is sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test for the second time this season. Along those same lines, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day tested positive.
And that doesn’t even include the NFL, which is coming apart at the COVID-19 seams. So far, the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game has been moved from Thanksgiving Day to Sunday and, now, to Tuesday night.
On and on and on it goes.
So, is it time to press the button?