The Demise of Fall Sports is Tied to the Ineptness Of Our Covid-19 Response
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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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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