clearn.png
Thursday May 6th, 2021 12:04AM

MLB outbreak reveals college football's vulnerabilities

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Those working to get college sports up and running have been hoping the return of professional sports would provide valuable information that could aid their efforts to play through a pandemic.

A COVID-19 outbreak for a Major League Baseball team three days into its season forced two games to be postponed Monday and brought a glimpse of how difficult the task will be.

“We're still learning things and this is a data point, there's no doubt about that," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "We're doing what our scientists and doctors are telling us to do. Move forward slowly and constantly re-evaluate.

“I think this will just be the new normal. There will be ebbs and flows and there'll be disruptions.”

Like MLB — and unlike the NBA, NHL, WNBA and MLS — college sports will try to conduct their seasons outside a controlled, virus-free bubble. The first major college football games in an evolving schedule that should start to come into focus this week are a little more than a month away.

COVID-19 flare-ups have shut down voluntary workouts throughout July at about two dozen major college football programs, including Ohio State, North Carolina, Kansas State and Houston. Last week Michigan State and Rutgers both announced positive tests among players and staff led to 14-day quarantine for their entire teams.

Full-blown practices for teams trying to start their seasons around the Labor Day weekend will begin by early next week.

Greater challenges lie ahead and what happened to the Marlins could be an ominous sign, said Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University.

“The biggest thing that I see is this is a demonstration of just how quickly COVID-19 can rip through a clubhouse and a team even in a sport like baseball where practices and games are pretty conducive to physical distancing,” Binney said. “It’s definitely alarming. You have to expect things would look even worse in a sport like football where the practices have contact, the games have contact and you have bigger rosters. Because the virus getting into a team is just a numbers game. The more people you have the more likely it sneaks in.”

The Miami Marlins outbreak rippled through baseball. Not only was their home opener with Baltimore postponed, but so was the Phillies' game against the Yankees. The Marlins played at Philadelphia on Sunday after several players tested positive and the next day the total number of positive players and staffers was more than a dozen.

When the Marlins or the Phillies will play next is unclear.

Lucia Mullen, an epidemiologist and senior analyst at Johns Hopkins University, said there could be lessons to take from how soon those teams are competing again.

“The next kind of pinnacle that other sports should be looking at is did they find (the infected) fast enough? Were they able to find all potential cases and stop the spread there or have they been too slow in their testing, in their contact tracing, that someone slipped through and we’re going to see more and more cases pop up?” Mullen said. “Because if that’s the case, we’re not testing enough.”

Recent NCAA guidelines recommended testing college football players once a week during the season, within 72 hours of a game. The Power Five conferences are working on their own protocols which make a similar recommendation.

Whether that is enough to prevent outbreaks that shut down teams, especially when more students return to campuses and college towns, remains to be seen.

Clinical aspects aside, college sports could benefit from a few smooth weeks of MLB playing and NFL opening training camps, If pro leagues struggle to keep their teams operating, questions about playing with unpaid college students will arise.

Bowlsby said having worked on bringing back college sports since March he tries to avoid overvaluing singular events such as the Marlins' outbreak.

“Any good news is welcome. Any bad news is not surprising,” Bowlsby said. "I didn't have an emotional reaction to it. I think we learned something from it. I was not surprised at all that there were positive tests. There will be positive tests in other sports, too. There will be positive tests on campuses when students return and within athletics programs.

“If it gets to the point where it's not at all manageable then we'll have to adjust in real time. And that adjustment could be everything from changes in schedules, changes in current practices to a discontinuation of the activities.”

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Mnuchin, Pelosi talk virus relief; GOP slashes jobless aid
Unemployment assistance, eviction protections and other relief for millions Americans are at stake as White House officials launch negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a new coronavirus aid package that’s teetering in Congress
7:03PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Officer challenges account of violent clearing of protesters
A senior National Guard officer says the U.S. Park Police began the violent clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square last month without apparent provocation or adequate warning
7:02PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump lawyers renew legal assault on tax records subpoena
President Donald Trump's lawyers have again challenged a criminal subpoena for tax records, calling it a harassment of the president
7:02PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
At least 2 MLB games postponed amid Marlins' virus outbreak
Two major league games scheduled for Monday night have been postponed after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia
6:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Michigan State says 16 athletes tested positive
Michigan State says 16 of 122 athletes tested positive for the new coronavirus during the week of July 20 and four athletic department staff members tested positive from July 18-24
5:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: As ICUs fill, Mississippi mulls pop-up centers
As intensive care units fill up at hospitals in Mississippi, state health officials are considering opening pop-up facilities to provide more beds for coronavirus patients
5:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Pence visits Florida to discuss COVID-19 vaccine
Vice President Mike Pence visited Florida on Monday to hold a round table with University of Miami researchers to speak about the final-stage testing of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine
4:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
2 MLB games postponed as Marlins deal with virus outbreak
Two major league games scheduled for Monday night have been postponed after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia
4:19PM ( 3 hours ago )
INF/OF Harrison to Nationals after release from Phillies
Utility player Josh Harrison has signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies
4:03PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
The Latest: US Tennis cancels 2 low-tier Florida tournaments
The U.S. Tennis Association has canceled two lower-tier tennis tournaments in Orlando, Florida, saying the coronavirus pandemic makes it too dangerous to hold the events without a bubble setup
4:12PM ( 3 hours ago )
After talk of collaboration, conferences go their own way
Plans for the college football season — if it is played — should start coming into focus this week
4:06PM ( 3 hours ago )
College basketball stuck in holding pattern during pandemic
Professional sports across the country have started the process of returning to competition during the coronavirus pandemic
4:13PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Saints QB Drew Brees donating another $5 million
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, say they’re donating $5 million toward a partnership with a Louisiana health care provider to build “numerous” health centers in economically struggling communities around the state
3:17PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: MAAC canceling fall sports competition
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has decided to cancel fall sports competition due to continuing health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
2:55PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: IndyCar revamping schedule again
IndyCar is set for another schedule revamp, with races scheduled for Portland International Raceway and a doubleheader weekend at Laguna Seca in California both canceled
2:36PM ( 4 hours ago )
College Sports
Marlins' home opener postponed as they deal with virus
The Miami Marlins’ home opener Monday night against Baltimore has been postponed as the Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia
9:53AM ( 9 hours ago )
Porcello flops in Mets debut, Swanson's 5 RBIs lead Braves
Dansby Swanson tied his career high with five RBIs and the Atlanta Braves chased an erratic Rick Porcello during the third inning of his New York Mets debut in a 14-1 blowout
2:19AM ( 17 hours ago )
Baseball's return includes several comeback stories
This past week was obviously an emotional one for many people in baseball, and it was especially significant for players who had lengthy absences even before the coronavirus shut the sport down in March
2:04AM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Fans are key factor to save 3 kickoff games in Atlanta
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan says fans must be allowed for three planned kickoff games to be played at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium
1:28PM ( 4 days ago )
NCAA football oversight asks board for time on fall sports
The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association's Board of Governors to avoid making a decision later this week on whether to conduct fall sports championships
2:48PM ( 5 days ago )
Koenning out as WVU coordinator after player accusations
West Virginia's football program has parted ways with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning
11:17AM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Mnuchin, Pelosi talk virus relief; GOP slashes jobless aid
Unemployment assistance, eviction protections and other relief for millions Americans are at stake as White House officials launch negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a new coronavirus aid package that’s teetering in Congress
7:03PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Officer challenges account of violent clearing of protesters
A senior National Guard officer says the U.S. Park Police began the violent clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square last month without apparent provocation or adequate warning
7:02PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Trump lawyers renew legal assault on tax records subpoena
President Donald Trump's lawyers have again challenged a criminal subpoena for tax records, calling it a harassment of the president
7:02PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Democratic National Convention to require masks, distancing
Everyone attending the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month will have to wear a face mask, be tested daily for COVID-19, fill out questionnaires and maintain a physical distance from others
6:30PM ( 50 minutes ago )
House approves bill to create Latino museum on National Mall
The House has passed a bill to establish a Smithsonian museum for American Latinos that would showcase Latino history, art and culture
6:28PM ( 52 minutes ago )