As coronavirus’ stay-at-home orders prompt most colleges and universities to close campuses, collegiate sports teams face much uncertainty in the upcoming months. Unlike university academics which have resumed through online courses, college sports have been brought to a halt due to social distancing restrictions that prohibit group gatherings.
College football, a significant revenue generator for many Division I schools, is at the center of the conversation.
Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk recently spoke regarding the NCAA decision to deny Mizzou’s appeal and uphold the postseason ban and other sanctions. During a virtual press conference, Sterk confirmed that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) presidents and chancellors are scheduled to vote on May 22 regarding the decision to open their schools’ athletic facilities for voluntary workouts in June.
In Sterk’s view, whether or not the college football season begins in August should not depend on whether students return to campus. “If a campus is operational, then we can possibly have athletic events,” said Sterk. However, earlier this month, NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed that it’s unlikely that the fall sports would resume if campuses aren’t reopened.
The stakes are even higher for professional league sports. The NBA suspended its season while Major League Baseball canceled its spring training. The NFL whose first game of the season isn’t until September 10 has begun its off-season workout programs virtually. According to the New York Times, “the [league’s] three-week virtual off-season, which is voluntary for players, would include classroom instruction with digital playbooks as well as workouts and non-football educational programs.” Despite the organized effort, teams will miss out on personal interactions that contribute to team camaraderie and help unite players prior to season’s start.
As the uncertainty about the future of college and professional league sports persists, along with disparate efforts to return to some level of normalcy, the need for effective and united leadership seems more apparent than ever.
The William Woods University Online Master of Education (MEd) in Athletics/Activities Administration is one of a few programs in the nation that trains athletic program directors to lead across all levels including collegiate sports. The program trains students on best practices in leadership, public relations, recruiting, fiscal management, facilities management, marketing, sports law and more. The program curriculum includes courses such as EDU 524 – Current Issues in Athletics Administration which provides an informed understanding of evolving issues and common challenges athletic directors face on the national and global scale.
The William Woods MEd in Athletics/Activities Administration program also leads to the initial certification of the National Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Association.