Sports trying to make a comeback in the midst of a pandemic

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The Miami Heat will be huddled at Disney now that their schedule has been resumed.

MICHAEL LAUGHLIN/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL/TNS

COMPILED BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Even as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise worldwide, the sports world is trying to return in some fashion.

Some pro sports have already returned including auto racing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, and boxing, while others are in the process of returning. In almost every case, the plan does not include fans in the stands.

Youth recreation sports haven’t quite returned but youth travel and amateur sports have.

B-CU, FAMU leaving MEAC for SWAC

Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M are leaving the MidEastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

It becomes official July 1, 2021, effective for the 2021-22 academic year. Both schools will still play in MEAC competition in the 2020-21 school year.

Both institutions site reduced travel costs and missed class time, as well as the chance to renew old-rivalries and generate revenue as the reasons for the switch.

The moves mean the MEAC will shrink to eight institutions with just six football squads while the SWAC grows into a 12-team conference.

Morehouse cancels fall sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) hard, especially the smaller ones.

HBCUs already deal with smaller budgets and lesser revenue streams than their larger predominantly White institutions. Morehouse College is no exception.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia Morehouse has cancelled all fall sports this past week. Morehouse competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAC).

The move will be difficult for the student athletes, coaches and support staff and means a lost revenue stream for the school.

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats face the Florida A&M Rattlers during a past Florida Classic football game in Orlando.

DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

MEAC/SWAC Challenge to have fans

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge will go on as planned for now on Sept. 6 in Atlanta at Georgia State Stadium (formerly Olympic Stadium home of the 1996 Olympics and Turner Field home of the Atlanta Braves).

Organizers announced last week that the event will only allow a fan-capacity of 50 percent because of the coronavirus pandemic. The stadium normally seats 25,000. Last year’s game had a record attendance of 23,333.

This year’s game features South Carolina State (MEAC) against Grambling State (SWAC).

Preps can work out

Locally, the Volusia County School district is allowing high schools to begin summer workouts for their sports programs beginning July 6.

Fall sports like football, volleyball and cross country are sure to take advantage.

A few other districts, including Seminole and Flagler counties, started earlier, opening summer workouts last month.

Officials said they will implement guidelines for social distancing, but no details were available before press time.

NBA to Orlando

Twenty-two teams are headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World to play eight games to determine seeding for the playoffs. There will be no fans.

The field includes 13 western conference and nine eastern conference teams.

In either conference if, the ninth seed finishes four games behind the eighth seed, then there will be a play-in tournament for the last playoff spot. The playoffs will have no home court advantage.

Teams report July 7-9 for a mini camp. The season runs July 30 to Aug. 14. The goal is to have the Finals played by Oct. 13.

MLB to have marathon season

After tense negotiations between players and owners, there will be a baseball season with 60 games running from July 23 to Sept. 27.

The postseason is expected to end by Oct. 31.

Teams will play 40 games against division opponents and 20 against the opposing division to reduce travel.

There will be a universal designated hitter and teams will use players from a 60-man taxi squad and have a 30-man active roster, which will be trimmed to 26.

The short season is more of a sprint than the regular 162-game marathon. Teams have no room for error since a slow start, late season fall, bad week, injuries or key players testing positive for coronavirus can derail a team’s chances at making the playoffs.

Teams with the most depth and versatility are posed to do well.

Minor League Baseball also announced the cancelation of its 2020 season on Tuesday.

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