Southfield (CW50) – As the COVID-19 pandemic was growing across the US, sports leagues cancelled or postponed their 2020 seasons early in the year. This led a lot of people to believe we’d be spending 2020 without any sports. However, professional sports leagues made their return with the NBA and NHL finishing out their seasons inside playoff bubble cities, and MLB returning with a shortened season and expanded playoffs. Of the four major sports in the US, that just left football to make its return.
The NFL opened their season without preseason games. Seven weeks into the season, the Detroit Lions have not had any positive cases of COVID-19 (Lions QB Matthew Stafford received a false-positive back in August). The Lions have played two opponents with positive cases within the organizations.
Another change in the NFL is the amount of fans being allowed to spectate games. Some teams have allowed a reduced capacity within the stadium for games, other teams like the Lions have chosen to have no fans within the stadium. This is something that has made football very strange to watch at times and even more strange for the personnel within the stadium who are experiencing a game without the roar of a crowd.
After backing out of the 2020 NCAA season initially, the Big Ten finally made its return to football last weekend. Big Ten teams will have a shortened eight-game conference-only schedule. As for how the NCAA is handling the return to sports during the pandemic, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition. For a team to continue practicing and competing, the positivity rate of these tests must stay at or below 5%, and the earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
All eyes are on MSU’s Head Coach, Mel Tucker, as he navigates his way through his first season as a college football head coach while also dealing with the circumstances of the pandemic.
As someone who knows quite a lot about sports, WWJ-950AM Morning Sports Anchor Tony Ortiz joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about what it has been like to cover sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to share his thoughts on the return of Big Ten football.
Watch COMMUNITY CONNECT, Saturday at 7am on CW50