Author Topic: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season  (Read 10994 times)

Offline jamtod

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #105 on: June 29, 2020, 09:10:34 pm »
An essential part of the college experience is being around other people, in classes, in dorms, in dining halls, and yes, in athletics.  Williams today announced a plan to test every student on return, and then test every student weekly.  Dining halls will be closed except for grab and go.  No sports.  If we are going to live in such fear of a virus that in Massachusetts has killed 0 people from 0-19 and 15 under the age of 30 (a rate of 1 per 100,000 people, with 98.2 % of all deaths in MA having 1 or more significant underlying health conditions), we are not living at all.  In their zeal to avoid any kind of risk to anyone, colleges may cause themselves significant loss of enrollment.  What is the point of paying big $ for a college education that is increasingly likely to be at least partially remote and which does not include athletics (varsity or club)?  According to Williams, 60% of their student body participates in either varsity or club sports.   

It isn't the fear of those in the age group who attend a college dying from this ... but that they pass it on to others who are more at risk including, but not limited to, professors, parents, grandparents, and many, many others.

Also, while no one in that age group has died in Massachusetts, Williams students come from far outside the state and those states those numbers aren't the same.

There is more going on here than just what is happening in Massachusetts and what the death numbers are for this age group. This age group can easily transport this virus to many other places without ever realizing they had it.


Exactly right, Dave.  A few months ago, FL was imposing quarantines on visitors from NY.  Now the shoe is on the other foot.

CSO, it's important to recognize that when you hear that R0, the transmission rate, is less than one, that does mean that if that rate is sustained, it would die out eventually, but the emphasis is on the word "eventually."  If R0 = 0.95, for example, then each additional college student who is infected would infect another 0.95 people on average, who would infect another 0.95^2 = 0.9025 people, and so on.  The total number of people infected in that chain?  20.   So the one college student who starts that chain is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

One other thing: Yes, most of the people who die from COVID-19 have co-morbidities.  If it kills me, I'll be one of them.  But lots of people have these co-morbidities, and many, likely most, of those co-morbidities wouldn't have killed those people in the absence of COVID.  So let's not pretend that the effects of the disease are limited to a few people who are easily isolated and had one foot in the grave anyway.

And we've heard from plenty of college and professional athletes with concerns about their well-being due to other conditions they have (not to mention family members), and I think it's silly to only focus on death when there are unknowns and evidence of other long-term consequences (ground glass lung among others), even in the young folks

Offline gfal5

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #106 on: July 01, 2020, 04:08:49 pm »
Division III Membership Committee statement on return to sports

July 1, 2020 3:00pm

Division III member schools and conferences each face unprecedented challenges in determining the appropriateness of conducting intercollegiate athletics on campus during the 2020-21 academic year. The Division III Membership Committee strongly encourages institutions to make the best decisions for their campus community and the happiness, health and safety of their student-athletes. If an institution does not satisfy one or more membership requirements as a result, it may seek relief through existing waivers. The Division III Membership Committee is committed to providing appropriate flexibility to assist member institutions through this process.

Media Contact
Jeremy
Villanueva
Assistant Director of Communications
NCAA
jvillanueva@ncaa.org

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #107 on: July 01, 2020, 05:03:17 pm »
Basically telling schools use their best judgement and that the NCAA (specifically DIII committees) are there to support and help if necessary. Not in a situation right now where blanket decisions, which could impact institutions in negative ways, are necessary.
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Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #108 on: July 01, 2020, 05:40:16 pm »
Amherst joins the list....and Swarthmore too. 

From Amherst website...

Will there be athletic competition at Amherst in 2020-21?

There will be no athletic competition during the fall semester (August 24-December 11). No  decision has been made on competition in the spring semester. We are communicating closely with our New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) peers, public health officials and the NCAA, and will make more information known as soon as we are able.

Does that mean fall and winter sports will not compete at all?

We don’t know yet. Fall and winter sports will not be competing until after the fall semester; we are actively participating in discussions to develop possible opportunities for fall and winter athletes to stay engaged with their teams in the spring with limited practice and playing opportunities. With the information we have now, it is unlikely that fall sports activity in the spring would resemble a standard season consisting of a full schedule of regular season contests and postseason play, and it would be dependent on final approval from the NCAA. We understand this is frustrating to hear. While we recognize the importance of varsity athletics, we must balance that with health and safety concerns.

And the Swat statement...

Athletics and physical education play a significant role in maintaining and strengthening the wellbeing of our community members;, and our colleagues in athletics are designing robust offerings for the upcoming academic year to support our physical and mental health. Unfortunately, all of the measures we’re putting in place to keep our community members safe — strict physical distancing and masking policies, limits on the number of students returning to campus, severely restricted college travel, etc. — will prohibit our participation in intercollegiate athletic competition during for the fall semester.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 05:44:33 pm by PaulNewman »

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #109 on: July 01, 2020, 07:16:29 pm »
We have a complete and updated list here (though, we need to add Amherst): https://www.d3sports.com/notables/2020/06/schools-call-it-off-for-fall

The decision is for Amherst appears to be that fall sports will not compete and winter sports will at least be delayed - much like Bowdoin first announced, though with a later date of Jan. 1.
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Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #110 on: July 01, 2020, 07:35:14 pm »
As the list grows and major conferences (NESCAC, Centennial, Liberty, NEWMAC, UAA, NCAC, MIAC, and likely others) have too many of their members opting out, the ability of holdouts to have any semblance of a season will become increasingly more difficult, in part because the logistics will become even more difficult, and schools will find their athletics conflicting with the guidelines for students on campus at large.  The momentum seems pretty clear and will soon be overwhelming.  Not what anyone wants to hear, but barring some major turn of events the writing is closing in on the wall if not already on it.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #111 on: July 01, 2020, 09:11:13 pm »
As the list grows and major conferences (NESCAC, Centennial, Liberty, NEWMAC, UAA, NCAC, MIAC, and likely others) have too many of their members opting out, the ability of holdouts to have any semblance of a season will become increasingly more difficult, in part because the logistics will become even more difficult, and schools will find their athletics conflicting with the guidelines for students on campus at large.  The momentum seems pretty clear and will soon be overwhelming.  Not what anyone wants to hear, but barring some major turn of events the writing is closing in on the wall if not already on it.

There have been 15 schools of 440 or something? Let's just see where things go. I have had many talks with many around the country ... each conference has a mix of schools that have different takes on all of this. Nothing is for sure at all.
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Offline midwest

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #112 on: July 02, 2020, 06:44:18 am »
Did I miss something on NCAC? I hadn't heard any NCAC schools announce they would not compete this fall.

Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #113 on: July 02, 2020, 08:36:05 am »
Did I miss something on NCAC? I hadn't heard any NCAC schools announce they would not compete this fall.

No, sorry, I can see where that was misleading, although I certainly haven't checked a ton of websites to see if schools may have posted something.

My point was more about the type of schools that have already announced and those likely to follow by association.  And, btw, have we seen any school announce assertively in the other direction that they will have a season as close to normal as possible, regardless?  Decisions start impacting other decisions with interaction effects and a viral effect.  If Swat isn't playing what is the chance Haverford will?  And once Swat and Haverford are out, what is the likelihood of Hopkins, F&M, Dickinson, etc following suit?  What NESCAC is going to buck the trend now?  With RPI out, can you see a scenario where Vassar, Union and Skidmore stay in?  And if those go, how does SLU not join them?  If and when Kenyon, Oberlin, Denison or DePauw fall off, then how long can the others hold on to play?  In addition to a huge financial concern, there is also a reputation concern.  Especially as the potential season becomes further and further from normal, why would a Haverford forge ahead if Swat isn't?  Can you see a Middlebury or Hamilton playing if the rest of the NESCAC isn't?  In that context, what administrator wants to take the risk of their plan going badly given what the peers are doing?  And as the season looks less and less normal the motivation to continue has to be very strong with the pressure ratcheting up as more drop off.

Now, most conferences are not like the NESCAC or UAA where all of the schools are relative peers with an ability to financially survive whatever happens.  So it will be interesting to see what happens in conferences that are more mixed, like the NCAC, Centennial and ODAC.  And is a W&L going to be more influenced by fellow ODAC schools or by NESCAC and Centennial academic peers?  Can you see Macalester and Carleton playing if other academically elite D3s and a regional peer like Grinnell are not playing?  No doubt schools will WANT to have a season, but in addition to the survival motivation, I think those schools would have to embrace and sell a philosophy that playing is the right thing to do in terms of health and wellness.  I could see schools saying that the best alternative among difficult options is to stare down the virus and just storm ahead right through it.  But they still need enough other schools to play, and at what point do schools react to the pressure from other schools, consider what they will have to do to proceed, and then ultimately decide that the logistics and risks are just too great.

Here's a wildcard....if some prominent school or schools announces positively in the other direction that they are going ahead and are doing on philosophical and health grounds...what some might view as courageous and others might view as something else.  Who might be authoritative enough to change the trend-line?  I'm thinking IF schools like Hopkins, Wash U, Chicago, Emory and Rochester forged ahead, places with highly reputable medical schools and medical centers.  Let's say Hopkins announces that their best medical experts are actually ADVISING college and high school sports to go forward, then that kind of rationale might catch on, and once a few schools like that with enormous clout joined together the momentum could probably change very quickly.  I just don't see that happening.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 08:55:18 am by PaulNewman »

Offline College Soccer Observer

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #114 on: July 02, 2020, 09:58:24 am »
Excellent analysis PN.  I think one of the factors driving this is that at the college level, many decisions are made by faculty committees, and the faculty members appear to be firmly in the life does not go back to normal until there is a vaccine camp (that is not meant to be a snarky or political comment, just the reality of how they see things).  See this article from the Chicago Tribune that illustrates the issue.  https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-illinois-colleges-fall-classes-faculty-20200701-ta423pg6avfqfgd6ou2zauikkq-story.html  A minority of the faculty at Middlebury posted their desires for the fall to be fully remote.  An overlooked factor for colleges in small towns is that the towns may see the college students as likely to introduce the virus into their communities, and colleges have to take the feelings of their local communities into account.

Offline Flying Weasel

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #115 on: July 02, 2020, 12:45:18 pm »
have we seen any school announce assertively in the other direction that they will have a season as close to normal as possible, regardless?

An individual school can decide to cancel the fall athletic season and make an announcement.  But, on the other hand, while a school can individually decide to pursue a fall athletic season, they cannot individually announce assertively that they will have as normal as possible a season because "as normal as possible" requires other schools/programs being on board as well.  So you can't expect school's that would like to have a fall season to make big announcements to that effect like those who are choosing to cancel the fall season.

Over the past month or so, many schools (maybe most?) in Pennsylvania from all NCAA divisions have pro-actively announced that they are currently planning to have their campuses open for the fall semester.  Messiah, Elizabethtown, Lebanon Valley, Lycoming, Eastern, Widener, Susquehanna, York, Gettysburg, Moravian, etc. from Division III, Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, Millersville, Clarion, etc. in Division II, and Division I's like Penn State, Bucknell, Lehigh, and Lafayette.

Many of them have the same game-plan/concept of starting 1 or 2 weeks earlier than normal, having no fall break in October (adding it to Thanskgiving break), and ending on-campus residency and instruction when students return home for Thanksgiving break, followed by 0 to 2 weeks of remote instruction and remote final exams. There's probably more differences in the preliminary details, to the extent that details have been shared, on what on-campus measures would be taken due to the virus (in-person vs on-line instruction, classroom capacities, dormitory/room capacities, virus testing, commuting options, etc.).

However, getting back to your point, many of the announcements do not touch on the subject of athletics although some do. Some others have information regarding athletics elsewhere on their website (e.g. on a Covid-19 FAQs webpage). Of the Pennsylvania schools that I am aware of planning on a residential fall semester, none have announced cancellation of the fall athletics season.  The ones who do mention the fall athletic seasons seem to indicate planning on pursuing a season, some specifically mentioning such decisions will be made in concert with their conference. 

You mentioned Swarthmore, and their cancellation of athletics this fall.  Swarthmore is planning on opening its campus, but will be limiting residency and on-campus instruction much more drastically that I have heard announced by the other schools I listed above (although I am not really spending time trying to track all this).  Residency and on-campus instruction will be almost exclusively for first years, sophomores, and transfers. So cancelling athletics is in line with that degree of restrictions/limitations.

I know the MAC is pursuing having a fall athletics season, but their task force for this may very well end up deciding it can't be done. If most of the MAC schools want to forge ahead with a fall season, I'm not sure that what the NESCAC schools decide or even a few other Mid-Atlantic schools (e.g. Swat) decide would greatly impact the MAC's decision. 

That said, even without a major spike on Covid-19 cases that would basically make the decision for schools,  I do think decisions to cancel could snowball at some point due to a combination of "peer pressure" and lack of opponents. I wouldn't think we are on the brink of that just yet, but I don't really have reason to know how close we may be.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #116 on: July 02, 2020, 01:18:03 pm »
Here is what can be an easy determination ... look at endowments.

So far many of the schools (15?) who have decided to forgo fall/first semester sports have pretty healthy endowments. Those who need enrollment, especially from athletics, to keep strong as an institution aren't going to make the same decisions unless there is absolutely no other choice.

There are some other factors, but if we start listing them all we just jump down a rabbit hole that has no ending. There are so many variables.

OAC announced today basically reaffirming what they announced on May 5. They will play only conference games for soccer, volleyball, and football in the fall (tennis, golf, and cross country can compete against non-conference opponents). Games will begin Sept. 19.
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Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #117 on: July 02, 2020, 03:19:40 pm »
Take my comments for just the opinion that it is...and that I have a fair amount of time on my hands.  Especially for any new posters, let me underscore that I have no inside information, no detailed understanding of the protocols, usual practices, and decision trees of different schools, conferences, NCAA divisions, etc.  I also do not have a current player involved and my livelihood has no correlation with whatever happens.  I don't even have a podcast lol.  When shelter-in-place began in Massachusetts I figured I'd be working from home for maybe three weeks...and I'm now going into my 5th month. 

A few thoughts regarding replies above...

Colleges and universities, both those that have said they will not have Fall sports and those that have not, have been very careful with their languaging/messaging, and they certainly are not advertising their plans in bold out of concern for retaining their students and wanting to appear as responsive as possible to students/families.  That goes for schools with large endowments as well.  As I think FW alluded to, in most cases you have to go into the FAQs to find a blurb about athletics.  Yes, it is hard to make guarantees in the affirmative when participation is intertwined with decisions of other conference members and other local schools (which is in some ways the point), but, they could make statements like "XYZ college is intent on having our athletic teams compete this Fall, and that is our current plan, with the caveat that plans could change based on factors beyond our control (i.e. what other schools do, spikes with covid, conference and/or NCAA decisions, etc)".  It sounds like this is the stance OAC schools have taken and maybe many other schools as well. 

I don't get the sense that whether or not to have athletics this Fall is tied to having a residential campus.  Aside from the Swarthmore example, most of the schools reporting that they will not have teams participating ARE strongly encouraging their students to return to campus with elaborate design and protocol adjustments to allow that to happen as safely as possible. 

Schools that desperately need as many students as possible to return, including those with their survival at risk, have to be careful with their messaging as well.  I don't think they can say "we're asking you to come back because otherwise our school may not survive."  Students and their families need to believe that students will be safe, relatively speaking.  In terms of those intent on having athletics, I think we can agree that there already has been a good amount of compression....starting late, ending early, no return after Thanksgiving, limited travel, conference games only, or contests only within 60-90 miles, etc, etc.

I'm sure that there are schools very intent on having a season.  I'm just suggesting that the limitations are likely to increase over time in ways that make whatever is being salvaged seem and feel less and less recognizable...to a point where school and league administrators ask themselves "what are we doing" and are the downsides overtaking the benefits.  We haven't even touched on all the scenarios, like what a team will do if there is a campus outbreak and/or 5 or more players on a team test +.  It's sort of like contact tracing.  Sounds great, but actually doing it can get way from you pretty rapidly.  Delaying season start dates also seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, like waiting so that the compressed season falls right in the middle of surges or a 2nd wave.

I know the NBA has nothing to do with whether Messiah plays soccer this Fall, but I do still think that how that goes will reverberate across professional and collegiate athletics.  I think the NBA has 25 + active player cases as of today with 10 or so staff +'s.  They seem intent on forging ahead (I hope they do and I will watch every game), but you can tell that Silver and others already are concerned that they may have to abandon the plan.

We shall see.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:23:53 pm by PaulNewman »

Offline WUPHF

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #118 on: Yesterday at 12:33:19 am »
Interestingly, the total Covid-19 deaths for individual Americans between the age of 0-24 is 171 and a significant percentage of these deaths can be attributed to both Covid-19 and one or more comorbidities.

This number is certainly lower because of the the shutdown of almost every college and universities so we have to consider that.

And for those who are infected by Covid-19, there is a risk of lifelong consequences including heart and lung damage.

A tough call regardless of how you look at it.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Covid Impacts on Upcoming Season
« Reply #119 on: Yesterday at 12:39:27 am »
Interestingly, the total Covid-19 deaths for individual Americans between the age of 0-24 is 171 and a significant percentage of these deaths can be attributed to both Covid-19 and one or more comorbidities.

This number is certainly lower because of the the shutdown of almost every college and universities so we have to consider that.

And for those who are infected by Covid-19, there is a risk of lifelong consequences including heart and lung damage.

A tough call regardless of how you look at it.

I don't think the deaths of this age range is the biggest worry for those on campuses ... it is the fact that many turn into transportation devices for the virus unknowingly. That means professors, staff, you name it are in jeopardy. Worse than that ... family and others are now in jeopardy when they come home and such.

This is more than just worrying about students being sick and maybe dying. It is about far more.
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