Will Mizzou football start this fall? Athletic Director shares how the pandemic is changing sports

College

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk is sharing what sports may look like this fall with restrictions put in place because of the pandemic.

“So the good thing is we don’t have to make a decision on fall sports until we’re closer,” said Sterk. “Now activities, we’re going to be opening up weight rooms, fields, and things like that in the near future. Whether it is the first, or fifteenth will be decided by the presidents and chancellors with the advice from a medical task force.”

So, will fall sports start on time? Nothing is certain at this point.

“There is no guarantee that anything will start on time. We’re going to make the decisions as we get closer, based on science,” said Sterk.

What would social distancing look like at the stadium?

“Our staff and Ticketmaster have been wrestling with those questions and answers. How do you fill a stadium if you have a 50 percent restriction rule? Or a 25 percent,” said Sterk. “It is possible like they say to pivot and adjust. That is the call of the day. Get the best information you can and move ahead with it.”

Could you have a NCAA season without all of the conferences or schools playing?

“During World War 2 the SEC did not have everyone playing. It was partially because some of the teams had a lot of players serving in the military. They decided not to have some games and had a partial season. In the 1918 Georgia Tech game, I have a picture of it, everyone was wearing masks. It looked like they were social distancing. But, they probably didn’t call it that back then. There are examples of that and we’re not in a totally unique situation.” said Sterk.

Universities in the SEC will not be testing athletes. They will be monitoring symptoms and checking temperatures daily. If a player shows symptoms then they will be tested and isolated. The team will not shut down.

The University of Missouri expects a 20 percent drop in ticket sales and donations.

“We’re going to try to create a unique, fun, and safe environment this fall. It could be like nothing we’ve seen since 1918,” said Sterk.

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