With cases of coronavirus continuing to increase around the globe, the fate of sports has been up in the air. This includes whether or not any athletic competitions will take place in the near future, and if they do, will spectators be present.
UF’s Steps to Promote Health
All UF students were sent home in March following the COVID-19 outbreak. All campus athletics then ceased. This ended the college athletic careers for some, but also cut the experience short for others. Now, Stricklin says that he is excited to allow practices and games to reconvene.
In order for this to be possible, however, practices and team meetings look much different than in the past. This includes closed practices, continuous testing and weekly Zoom meetings between staff. In the month of August, UF Health has tested almost 700 student athletes, with only one positive test.
The big question still on every fan’s mind though, is the topic of an in-person game experience. While most of the SEC has already released their capacity adjustments for tailgates and stadium presences, the University of Florida Athletic Department is still in the process of making these decisions.
After the Big 10 chose to opt out of this year’s season, the question of whether or not the rest of the conferences would follow arose. The SEC voted, however, and an 8-6 majority chose to play. Stricklin says that while the voting was not unanimous, all of the teams in the SEC are in support of the decision.
The Future of Gators Sports
With the uncertainty of the future right now, Stricklin says that all plans for athletics are open to adjustments as time progresses. He continues to say that it is only through the diligence of the Gainesville community to uphold CDC guidelines, that the Gators will be able to compete this year.