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Everything You Need To Know About The Reopening of Sports In America

UFC's back, Florida and Arizona are opening, NBA players want to ball and NCAA is moving in many directions.

As the sports world tries to navigate the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and figure out ways to safely reopen, here’s an update on several leagues and college conferences and how they are handling and adjusting to the current situation.

NFL 

NFL’s offseason virtual period extended through May 29. All offseason workouts must conclude by June 26. There are no dates, however, set for opening up team facilities 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: State open to pro sports teams and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey says pro sports can resume without fans Saturday. Now, teams from states that aren’t planning to reopen have to decide on a potential relocation plans.  

NBA

The NBA has been shut down since March 12 with 259 regular-season games remaining After a poll of the NBPA, it appears that an overwhelming consensus of NBA players want the season to resume, but not at the expense of the public. 

Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown was on the recent player’s only conference call and talked about this on CNN. According to Brown safety and protecting the brand is the biggest issue. 

The bigger debate will be about teams from states that aren’t planning to reopen and if/how they are willing to relocate. 

On the league side, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a virtual Board of Governor’s meeting on Tuesday and reports say the people in attendance left the meeting feeling extremely positive about the league’s momentum towards resuming play.

 UFC 

UFC Fight Night resumed last night at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL with no fans. It was the second UFC fight held in Jacksonville without fans in the last five days. In a lightweight bout 

Glover Teixeira defeated Anthony Smith via KO/TKO in Round 5. Featherweight Brian Kelleher defeated Hunter Azure by KO/TKO in Round 2. 

NCAA

NCAA President Mark Emmert said on Wednesday that the NCAA would not mandate or oversee a uniform return to college sports. That means he is leaving the decision on when to start playing again up to state officials and university Presidents.

MAC Conference

MAC conference has announced major changes to deal with the financial fallout of the coronavirus. The conference is reducing men’s and women’s basketball schedules and conference tournaments and canceling tournaments for 8 sports. No announcement on football as of yet.

Pac-12 

The conference is yet to make any decisions on how it will handle the 2020 season. An 11-game regular-season schedule played solely vs conference opponents has been discussed, as none of the universities are a part of the California State university system that canceled most in-person classes for the Fall earlier this week. 

San Diego State, Fresno State, and San Jose State are members of the 23-school system. 

Speaking on a coaches webinar yesterday, UCLA’s Chip Kelly was asked if that decision will have any effect on his team.

Chip Kelly: “Noone has told us that we’re not playing and no one has told us that we are definitely playing. So anything that has come out still doesn’t affect what’s going on with the PAC-12. 

The conference still feels that time is on its side as the other Power 5 conferences haven’t decided anything either. The major adjustments could be made with non-conference games played early in the season such as USC vs Alabama or Oregon vs Ohio State. 

There’s also an option for players who are at colleges who won’t be reopening for play to utilize a one-time transfer exception amid pandemic, but there are specific rules that apply. 

PGA

Sent a memo to golfers outlining safety protocols for upcoming tournaments. They will include regular COVID-19 testing, designated hotels in every city, chartered flights between events, rules on who can attend and protocols for caddies.

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