Clemson head baseball coach Monte Lee does not want to imagine a world in which the college football season is canceled. However, he never imagined the college baseball season would be canceled either.
But that is the world we are living in, and some are beginning to wonder if college football is the next thing the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take from the sports world.
“I don’t even want to think about it,” Lee told The Clemson Insider on Tuesday, “but I think we all know the reality if we do not find a way to contain COVID-19 across college athletics and across the communities and this country, that if we don’t find a way to contain it, then who knows what our summer is going to look like. That is just tough to imagine.”
Baseball season and all spring sports were shut down when the NCAA announced on March 13 it was canceling all of its winner and spring championships in hopes to help contain the virus. The conferences soon followed, as one by one they canceled spring activities. The universities then shut down their campuses and collegiate athletics, as we know it, does not exist right now. The NBA, the NHL, MLS and Major League Baseball have suspended their seasons.
President Donald Trump extend the national quarantine period through April 30. Clemson has closed its campus through May 8 and Duke University announced Monday its Summer Session I classes scheduled for the Duke Campus and the Duke Marine Lab are cancelled. Second session does not start until June 29.
“Obviously, being a baseball guy, I am thinking to myself, ‘When is Major League Baseball going to start?’ If there are delays in that or there are games that go on with no fans and it keeps going and it keeps going, could it affect football? Only time is going to tell with that, but if we do a good job of staying away from large crowds, we can get this thing to come down,” Lee said. “We all watch the news and look at social media on this thing. As it continues to heat up, hopefully, the numbers on this virus will go down. All we can hope for is that people are following social distancing and taking care of themselves.
“Hopefully, at some point, there will be a vaccine and we will be able to curb this thing going into the summer months where that will not even be a factor.”
Riley Morningstar, of The (Seneca) Journal, reported on Twitter Tuesday a Clemson finance official told the Board of Trustees they are estimating the impact of the virus at $20 million to the university with all the cancellations from March and in April. The athletic department had to refund $665 thousand in softball and baseball tickets and they are possibly going to lose $2.7 million in NCAA and ACC revenue because of all of the cancellations.
“If it does affect football season, then obviously that is going to affect college athletics across the country,” Lee said. “We all know where the money comes from, right? Football funds the mass majority of all of our sports. If it does affect football, it can have pretty significant ramifications for all other sports as well.
“We don’t want to that to happen for sure and we all know how important Clemson football is to all of us. Hopefully, we can get this thing under control over the next month or so and we will start to see some light at the end of the tunnel, and we will all be able to get back to normal. Hopefully, we don’t have to cross that bridge.”
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