PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 7
By Leo Haggerty

THE FIRST SHOE HAS DROPPED

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Don’t you find it ironic that, on the same day that the National Football League was announcing their unchanged 2020 regular season schedule, that the state of Oregon pulled the plug on any sporting events within its border?  I sure as heck did not.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announce yesterday that all large gatherings, including sporting events, will remain off-limits September.  There’s a good news and bad news caveat to that decree.

The good news is that date can be reduced if one of two things come to fruition.  One is that Oregonians have access to a vaccine.  The other is that a reliable treatment for COVID-19 is developed and made available in Oregon.

The bad news is that, if neither of those two remedies are able to be put into action, the September date can be extended.  That’s not a good thing as it pertains to sports and here’s why.

The two Power 5 universities, the Oregon Ducks in Eugene as well as the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, will be adversely impacted by this ruling.  That, my loyal readers, is an understatement.

The Ducks have three September home dates scheduled for Autzen Stadium.  In that trio of contests is included a huge matchup against perennial Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State on September 12th.

The Beavers open on the road at Oklahoma State on September 3rd.  Then its three straight “State” home encounters at Reser Stadium against Colorado and Portland followed by Washington.

Cancelling those three events at each institution, from strictly a monetary standpoint, will be devastating.  The revenue that will be lost could cause UO and OSU to drastically curtail their other sports, particularly the non-revenue ones, that depend on funding generated from the football program.

What effect that will have on Oregon’s two major sports teams, the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and the MLS’s Portland Timbers, remains to be seen.  That will be anybody’s guess.

The National Basketball Association is desperately trying to find a feasible path to returning to play in any way possible but, to this point, do not have a workable plan.  Major League Soccer is allowing workout to commence but no schedule of games has been determined.

So, the first shoe has dropped and that’s a big setback to sports not just in Oregon but to other areas of the country as well.  A bigger problem will be if Washington and California follow suit in the near future.  That would be catastrophic.

Stay tuned for what any new developments after the dust settles.  They will be newsworthy.