As all the buzz in the sports world surrounds COVID-19, college athletic departments have to address the concerns regarding the virus. Changes include canceled games, crowd restrictions and other drastic alterations to the landscape of college sports. Some of these changes are coming to UF athletics.
Lacrosse games wiped off of slate
Fans can not attend any sporting event at UF, and lacrosse is no exception. Where lacrosse stands out, however, is that the Gators’ team has two fewer games on its schedule. Due to coronavirus concerns, the Ivy League shut down all remaining athletic events this school year. As a result, the Gators games against Brown on March 14 and Princeton on March 24 are called off.
This past Tuesday, Gator softball unknowingly caught a break with the timing of their game against Penn. Unfortunately for the Ivy League’s Penn, its contest with UF concluded the team’s season.
Open practices closed
With these changes, the Gator football team closed spring practice to the public. The team originally had six of its spring practices, which start Monday, open to the public. No word on whether April’s Spring Game will be held.
Fan restrictions at sporting events
The SEC announced Wednesday night that all regular season and tournament games will continue without fan presence until at least Mar. 30. The initial impact on UF athletics comes today in the SEC men’s basketball tournament. The Gators square off against Georgia in a fan-less atmosphere. Only essential game day personnel and player families can attend.
Looking ahead to Friday, the No. 2 Gators gymnastics team hosts its senior night against Texas Woman’s University. Although the O’Connell Center tends to fill up for gymnastics meets, this meet will not have its usual turnout. Despite the ban on fans, senior night proceeds as scheduled.
Also, this weekend, Gators baseball and softball each play a home series without fans in attendance. Softball squares off against No. 24 Baylor, and baseball takes on No.3 Georgia. Top-25 matchups normally attract large crowds, but such is not the case due to the coronavirus. UF baseball and softball both played their last games with fans against FSU this week.
I just want to sincerely thank everyone that came out last night to KSP and watched @GatorsSB vs @FSU_Softball Your support of both programs over the years is very well recognized. Thanks for helping us grow our brand. Wishing everyone a healthy and safe rest of March. #GoGators
— Tim Walton (@_TimWalton) March 12, 2020
Media access still open at UF
While fans watch games from their couch, coverage continues as the majority of games remain scheduled, barring any future changes. Stay tuned for updates regarding the coronavirus and its effect on Gator sports.