Official March Madness 2020 tournament basketballs are seen in a store room at the CHI Health Center Arena, in Omaha, Neb., Monday, March 16, 2020. Omaha was to host a first and second round in the NCAA college basketball Division I tournament, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

COVID-19: Fluidity challenges NCAA athletics, says UNCC’s AD Mike Hill

Cough, fever, fatigue and shortness of breath are all symptoms of COVID-19 from the eyes of doctors. However, from the eyes of sports administrators, fluidity is another issue all on its own. 

University of North Carolina-Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill is someone who can attest to the changing ebbs and flows of the coronavirus. 

Hill served 25 years as an associate athletic director at the University of Florida. In February 2018, he took the helm of UNCC athletics. A little over two years into his tenure, Hill never imagined dealing with a global pandemic. 

Talking through COVID-19

However, if he learned one thing from his time at Florida, it’s how communication is needed to navigate crises. Unfortunately, Hill is no stranger to dealing with crises. 

Last April, UNC-Charlotte dealt with the tragedy of a school shooting that left two students dead. 

And though the shooting and the coronavirus are different, in terms of response, they’re similar. 

In addition to talking with the conference office multiple times a week, Hill also talks with other UNCC administrators and coaches often. 

Financial Implications

Like all athletic departments across the U.S., UNC-Charlotte is subject to financial consequences caused by the coronavirus. 

The cancelation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was one of the first major events to be scrapped due to COVID-19. And unfortunately for college athletics as a whole, it happens to be the largest NCAA event of the year.

In addition, to the estimated $1 million loss from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, an additional $950,000 check from student fees won’t be cashed by the UAA. 

Will fall be the same?

ESPN Gainesville’s Steve Russell also made sure to ask Hill the question everyone wants to know the answer to: Will there be football? And if there is, will there be fans in the stands?

Hill is optimistic that a football season will be played in the 2020-21 year. Yet, what part of the academic year we will see football is unknown. 

However, if there aren’t fans, Hill isn’t sure there should be football. 

Hill follows with the hope that coronavirus testing will continue to improve, making it easier to monitor the health and safety of student-athletes and coaches. 

Though, like everything else about this virus, things change by the week, by the day and by the hour. COVID-19’s fluidity continues to be a challenge within itself for Hill and college athletic directors across the country. 

About Ainslie Lee

Ainslie is a journalism major at the University of Florida where she specializes in Sports Media. Her main passion is college football as it was a huge part of her childhood. Ainslie serves as a current correspondent for the Ocala Star-Banner, a newspaper for the Ocala, Florida area. She currently covers Marion County high school sports.

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