Months into the coronavirus pandemic, cases of COVID-19 continue to climb throughout the country, so much so that some athletics administrators are beginning to have concerns about the fall sports season.
Morehouse College, the HBCU located in Atlanta, has already pulled the plug on its fall sports — and some southwestern states are sounding the alarm that if trends don’t change, their seasons, and even their academic calendars, could be in jeopardy.
According to the Arizona Republic, University of Arizona president Robert Robbins said last week during a weekly update call on the school’s handling of the outbreak that given the state’s current caseload, he would not open the university.
"We cannot have a situation where we're bringing students back to campus, asking our faculty and staff to come back to campus, when we're in truly an exponential growth in the number of cases here," Robbins said.
The state is seeing beds in intensive care units begin to fill up with COVID-19 patients, and on Sunday reported its highest single-day spike in cases.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Nevada, UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois posted a photo of herself wearing a facemask in front of Allegiant Stadium with the hashtag #Facemasks4FallSports, and challenging fellow Mountain West athletics officials to do the same.
The hashtag caught on, as players, fans, coaches and administrators jumped in to show their support, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The @UNMLOBOS will take the challenge from the @UNLVathletics Rebels & @DRFrancois1 ! We all have do our part & wear our masks. #FaceMasks4FallSports— Eddie Nunez (@EddieNunezAD) June 28, 2020
Let’s go Lobo Coaches, Student-Athletes & staff. #WeAreAllIn
We challenge @TomBurman1 @MarioMocciaNMSU & our great State of NM! pic.twitter.com/ewg9bqWn4K
The renewed push for the use of facemasks comes as some programs, including UNLV, have had to pause summer workouts due to spikes in cases.