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Ivy League Cancels Fall Sports, First in D1 Conference

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The Ivy Leauge announced on Wednesday that all upcoming fall sports will be canceled. They’ve become the first Division I conference to suspend football.

What We Know:

  • The Ivy League presidents placed all sports on hold until at least January, making it the first Division I conference that will not play football as scheduled in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Fall sports in the conference from football and men’s basketball to cross country and sailing have been placed in limbo for now. Practices could take place in the fall, beginning with limited individual and small group workouts, but the presidents announced that conditions would have to improve dramatically for sports to be played next year.
  • The presidents said in a statement that sports could not be played under campus-wide policies that include restrictions on student and staff travel, social distancing requirements, and limits on group gatherings. “With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk,” the statement read.
  • There has been discussion around moving collegiate football to the spring. In response, Princeton football Coach Bob Surace said, “One word. Hope.” Surace added that a vaccine, better therapies, and people following health guidelines would be necessary if there were any chance of playing in the spring, but there is also the fear of a second wave of the virus this winter.
  • Although the caliber and prestige of football in the Ivy League conference are far below that of the best programs in the country, the decision made by the eight Ivy League presidents could have great influence among university leaders nationwide who are tasked with deciding when and how sports will return to college campuses. “I think other conferences around the country are going to follow,” Columbia athletic director Peter Pilling said.
  • After the Ivy League announced its decision, Ohio State and North Carolina became the latest schools to suspend voluntary workouts after outbreaks among athletes.
  • The decision also follows three of the conference’s schools announcing plans for reopening their campuses to only some students in the fall. One of those schools, Harvard, said it would only allow 40 percent of its students, mostly freshmen, on campus and that all classes would be held remotely.
  • The Ivy League was also the first conference to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments back in March before the Coronavirus pandemic took over the country.
  • The Ivy League universities receive large endowments outside of athletics. This has allowed them to make decisions regarding athletics without needing to consider the money or potential financial loss from canceling a season. Many other schools count on those sports, particularly college football, to bring in millions of dollars in television, ticket, and advertising revenues that fuel the athletic departments. This complicates the decision for other Division I conferences to put a hold on fall sports.
  • Colleges at the lower Divison II and III levels of the N.C.A.A., which contains more than 1,100 schools, have already begun to cancel fall sports. The dozen Division II schools in the California Collegiate Athletic Association announced back in May that it would cancel fall sports shortly after the Cal State University chancellor said that courses this fall would be held online.
  • The Patriot League, which includes Lehigh, Lafayette, Fordham, and other mostly small colleges in the Northeast, announced last month that its fall sports would play league competition from the end of September until Thanksgiving, yet travel by airplane would not be permitted.
  • Morehouse College, which competes at the Division II level, became the first scholarship program to cancel its football season. The decision by Morehouse, a historically Black college, highlighted a troubling prospect: that if the school played football it could potentially harm even more African-American people, which through comorbidity factors, living conditions or inadequate access to health care have shown to be more vulnerable to the most severe effects of the virus.

U.S. colleges are working to create plans for the semester that begins in August or September, instituting steps for the safe return of students and deciding whether it’s too risky to resume the high-contact sport of football. “Conferences will now have to explain how they can do a better job of protecting their athletes than the Ivy League,” said Christopher Marsicano, assistant professor of the practice of higher education at Davidson College in North Carolina.

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Coronavirus

Senate Leaves for Recess Without New Coronavirus Relief Package

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The U.S. went on its August recess Thursday until September 8th, pushing back hopes of a new coronavirus relief deal, the Hill reports.

What We Know:

  • Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) kept the Senate in session throughout the week in hopes of a compromise between the chamber, the Democratic held House, and the Trump administration to pass a new relief package. The House has already been out of session and will not return until September 14th.
  • “We will have our regular pro forma meetings through the end of the state work period. If the Speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another package move forward … it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled,” McConnell said in a statement.
  • If a breakthrough is made and votes can be scheduled, senators will have 24 hours to return to Washington. As of now, few believe a deal can be reached within the next 48 hours which Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) believes is the limit to get lawmakers back before September. In reference to executive orders from the Trump administration, Sen. Grassley said “If it doesn’t happen in the next 48 hours, I think this is all you’re going to see until Congress gets back into session after Labor Day”.
  • Reports say that a call between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this week ended aggressively, showing how serious this stalemate could be. Democrats have asked for as much as $3.7 trillion while Republicans refuse to go over $1 trillion. “We are miles apart in our values,” Speaker Pelosi said, adding that she would speak to Mnuchin next when “they come in with $2 trillion”.

The weekly stimulus going out to Americans ended at the end of July. Now, two weeks later, Congressional leadership is eager to produce their own version of the bill to help with reelection campaigns as we push closer to November.

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AMC Theaters Reopening with 15 Cent Movie Tickets

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A closed AMC movie theater in New York City on June 9, 2020.Anthony Behar / Sipa USA via AP file

AMC is set to reopen locations on August 20th with new safety guidelines in place.

What We Know:

  • AMC closed down all theaters in the US in March as the coronavirus pandemic gained control, and the reopening was postponed several times.
  • In June, the theater company announced it was set to reopen July 15th but that was delayed again to July 30th due to a lack of movies being offered by studios. It was postponed again last month to mid-to-late August.
  • The world’s largest movie theater company will reopen more than 100 US theaters on August 20th, the company said on Thursday. To celebrate its centennial, AMC will offer “movies in 2020 at 1920 prices” on opening day at only 15 cents a ticket.
  • At first, the company said last month that they would not require guests to wear face masks in theaters, but they quickly revoked such policy. AMC said that it will apply new safety and health measures to keep visitors safe and suppress the coronavirus spread. This will require all guests to wear masks, lowering theater capacity, and upgrading ventilation systems.
  • The new systems will also incorporate blocking off every other row seating in certain theaters, cleaning and disinfecting credit card machines between each transaction, and not accepting cash at concession stands.
  • AMC stated that it expects to open two-thirds of its more than 600 US theater locations by the time Christopher Nolan’s thriller Tenet hits theaters on September 3rd. According to the company, AMC’s other US theaters will open “only after authorized to do so by state and local officials”. The August 20th promotion for AMC is just part of the first phase of reopening plans.
  • After opening day, tickets will still be available for a lower cost than usual. Tickets for films like Inception, Black Panther, Back to the Future, and The Empire Strikes Back will cost $5. There will also be discounts on concessions like popcorn for $5 through the end of October. AMC is bringing back old films since the North American box office had to pause with so many new movies that have been delayed this year due to the outbreak.

CEO Adam Aron said hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are going to be available all around the theaters for guests. Visitors can also purchase masks for $1 across all locations. Movie lovers are now required to have masks on in the theater to watch movies. Anyone hesitant to wear a mask will not be allowed to stay at the theater.

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Florida Sheriff Bans Masks for Deputies

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Sheriff Billy Woods (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

An order from a local sheriff in Florida is going against the recommendations from government officials and scientists: masks will not be worn, with some exceptions.

What We Know:

  • Seeing as there is an apparent general agreement in the U.S. indicating that masks are very critical in the fight against Covid-19, Florida’s Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods notified his employees on Tuesday that they are banned from wearing face coverings while on duty and that visitors that visit the sheriff’s office will be ordered to remove their masks.
  • Woods noted the mayor of Ocala, which is the largest city in Florida’s Marion County, vetoed a mask mandate that was recently passed by the city council. He said the veto is expected to be revoked but the ordinance exempts government entities, leaving the ruling of whether or not to mandate masks to the figureheads.

“We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t,” Woods said.

  • Officers are permitted to wear masks in specific situations (for instance: in public schools, hospitals, and courthouses), but they are required to remove the face coverings immediately afterward.

Woods also stated, “effective immediately, any individual walking into any one of our lobbies that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it,” and if they do not comply, “they will be asked to leave”.

  • The reason behind this new order is clear communication. Woods stated, due to the current events happening and how individuals may be feeling against law enforcement in the country today, this is to make sure that there is clear communication. It also aids in identification purposes of any person walking into the lobby.

Across the nation, police officers are being seen not wearing masks, listing a multitude of reasons as to why, though health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advise that face masks help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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