The other big thing, of course, is money: Billions of dollars stand to be lost by leagues if they are unable to complete their seasons. Money can make people do a lot of things.
Are there any leagues around the world trying to operate, and doing so successfully, while paying attention to health guidelines?
Taiwan’s five-team basketball league has been playing games out of a single, empty gymnasium that no more than 100 people may enter at a time. Coronavirus tests are not taking place on site, but everyone’s temperature is being monitored. (Asymptomatic carriers of the virus, of course, might not have an elevated temperature.) Over the weekend, the country’s baseball and soccer leagues kicked off in similar fashion.
In Germany, teams in the top soccer leagues have begun practicing again, and league officials are aiming to resume play in May. A few countries, like Nicaragua, have carried on with little or no restrictions.
It’s important to note that, for the most part, these countries — far more than most around the world, including the United States — have avoided large numbers of deaths through a mixture of testing, tracking and other preventive measures. And even then, they tend to be proceeding with extreme caution. It’s unclear what would happen, for instance, if a Taiwanese basketball player tested positive for the virus. Would the league suspend play again?
How should decisions about whether to resume play be made?
These are questions weighing on everyone involved in sports at every level in the United States. Schaffner, for instance, is part of an advisory panel brought together by the N.C.A.A. to create a recommendation for how college sports should proceed at this time, and teams and officials have been clamoring for answers that have yet to arrive.
“The coaches wanted it last week,” Schaffner said about the panel’s pending recommendations, laughing. “We haven’t given ourselves a timeline. We’re watching the data very carefully and looking at the models out there.”