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Saturday, April 13, 2024

COVID-19 and Sports: A six-month timeline

<p>Redshirt junior <span>Ventrell</span><span> </span><span>Miller wearing a mask outside of the O'Connell Center. On June 17, the NCAA approved a plan for schools to begin summer workouts in July for the upcoming fall football season.</span></p>

Redshirt junior Ventrell Miller wearing a mask outside of the O'Connell Center. On June 17, the NCAA approved a plan for schools to begin summer workouts in July for the upcoming fall football season.

March 12 – NCAA cancels the remaining athletic events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as well as all other championships. Notable sports cut short included gymnastics, golf, baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field.

Total cases in Florida: 32, Total deaths: 2

March 13 - The NCAA announces their plan to grant spring athletes an extra season of eligibility due to the cancellation of sports. The recruiting dead period was also extended until July 31, according to The Lantern, meaning all in-person recruiting events, on-campus and off were not permitted..

Total cases in Florida: 50, Total deaths: 2

May 22 - Two months after spring sports were canceled, the SEC approves a plan for student-athletes to return to campus starting June 8. This decision came just two days after the NCAA allowed all athletes to return to campus starting June 1. 

Total cases in Florida: 49,451, Total deaths: 2,190

June 4 - University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin expects fall sports to be played with limited amounts of fans in attendance for the 2020 season. He says his goal was to accommodate as many fans as health officials deemed appropriate, adding that the school should have a better idea of what attendance should look like by early August.

Total cases in Florida: 60,183, Total deaths: 2,607

June 11 - The MLB Draft, which had been shortened from the usual 40 rounds to five rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, concludes. After not being drafted, Florida pitchers Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich returned  to school for another year. Mace was offered a contract by an unnamed MLB team but opted to return to Gainesville.

Total cases in Florida: 69,069, Total deaths: 2,848

June 17 - The NCAA approves a plan for schools to begin summer workouts in July for the upcoming fall football season. This six-week plan established  a transition from voluntary to mandatory workouts. Football programs were allowed to waive traditional roster restrictions during camp, letting them have more than the usual 110 players.

Total cases in Florida: 82,719, Total deaths: 3,018

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June 23 - The University of Florida reveals that 11 of its student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 since April.. Two athletes tested positive away from campus, while another one was discovered through UFHealth’s Screen, Test and Protect program, which the school had unveiled earlier in June.

Total cases in Florida: 103,502, Total deaths: 3,238

July 16 - The NCAA Sport Science Institute releases new guidelines for all athletes returning to campus. New health measures include daily self-health checks, using face coverings and social distancing during training and testing within 72 hours of games for high-risk contact sports such as football.

Total cases in Florida: 315,775, Total deaths: 4,677

July 30 - The SEC announces it will play a 10-game, conference-only schedule in 2020.. Each team would keep the eight conference games previously scheduled while adding two opponents from the other division This schedule revision meant that Florida would not face Florida State in football for the first time since 1957. .

Total cases in Florida : 461,379, Total deaths: 6,586

Aug. 11 - The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences unanimously voted to postpone fall sports, including football. Both conferences stated that they wanted  to play these sports  in the spring instead. The SEC releases a statement detailing that they remain committed to playing sports in the fall.

Total cases in Florida: 542,792, Total deaths: 8,553

Aug. 17 - The University of Florida football team has its first practice for the 2020 season. Dan Mullen confirmed multiple players missed practice and considering opting out of the upcoming season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. c. Wide receivers Kadarius Toney, Trevon Grimes, Jacob Copeland and defensive end Zachary Carter are  some of the notable players who are rumored to be considering sitting out the 2020 season. 

Total cases in Florida: 576,094, Total Deaths: 9,539

Aug. 19 - The NCAA Division I Council approves a proposal that would grant every fall athlete an extra year of eligibility, regardless of whether or not they play this upcoming season. In addition, this proposal  stated any seniors that chose to return for an  extra year would not count against roster sizes for the following season.

Total cases in Florida: 584,047, Total Deaths: 9,932

Aug. 21 - NCAA announces it is postponing fall sports championships until spring. It also announces its decision to scale back the amount of teams in these championships, with final decisions on composition and potential bracket sizes to be approved by the NCAA Board of Governors. 

Total cases in Florida: 593,286, Total Deaths: 10,168

Aug. 27 - The SEC sets new start dates and formats for fall seasons. Soccer and volleyball will consist of a conference-only, eight-match schedule starting September 18th and October 16th, respectively. Cross-country teams will compete in two or three meets prior to the SEC championships on Oct. 30. The golf and tennis teams will each play up to three events for their fall segment no earlier than Oct. 1.

Total cases in Florida: 611,991, Total deaths: 10,868 

As of Aug. 31, in the state of Florida, there are 615,806 positive cases of COVID-19 and 10,957 deaths. The state currently has a positive testing percentage of 13.4 percent.

*COVID-19 statistics taken from the Florida Department of Health via floridahealth.gov, The Independent Florida Alligator and The New York Times.*

Follow Ryan Haley on Twitter @ryan_dhaley and Sara Kate Dyson @sarakatedyson.

Redshirt junior Ventrell Miller wearing a mask outside of the O'Connell Center. On June 17, the NCAA approved a plan for schools to begin summer workouts in July for the upcoming fall football season.

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Ryan Haley

Ryan Haley, a UF journalism senior with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida, is Summer 2022's Engagement Managing Editor. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.

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