By Ken Reed

It’s getting less and less likely that we will have fall sports of any kind at the high school and college levels this fall.

California has joined New Mexico in postponing the start of high school sports until 2021.

The Ivy League and several other college conferences have already dropped or significantly limited athletic competitions in the fall.

It didn’t have to be this way. If the United States hadn’t fumbled its response to the Covid-19 pandemic high school and college sports could very likely have been played this fall.

USA Today’s Nancy Armour compared and contrasted the situations in Europe and the United States in a recent column.

“As the chances of playing football this fall in the United States look increasingly grim, Germany’s soccer league has completed the season that was interrupted by COVID and is looking ahead to starting its next one in September — possibly with fans in attendance,” wrote Armour. “England’s Premier League will wrap up its season this weekend. Soccer even returned in Italy and Spain, the European countries hit hardest by the pandemic.”

The difference between Europe and the United States? In addition to well-coordinated policies of mask-wearing and social distancing (along with high buy-in on the part of citizens), the European countries have been much better than we have at developing and implementing a strong testing program that produces quick results — combined with contact tracing and appropriate quarantining — which can significantly limit the spread of the virus.

As Armour concludes:

“[T]here’s no ignoring the obvious: In countries where the government had a comprehensive response to COVID that was rooted in science, and the public was supportive of containment measures, people got their sports back.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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