America's pro sports leagues sputtered back to life in 2020 with bubbles, comprehensive testing programs and a host of other changes that still seem unimaginable after the fact.
The state of play: The leagues succeeded because they have enormous wealth and were operating mostly in "salvage the season" mode — but now comes the hard part: Figuring out how to do it again — this time from an even worse financial position and amid a third coronavirus wave.
Jeff Goodman and Rob Dauster, both long-time college basketball insiders, have joined forces with former players and fellow media members to launch a new college hoops podcast network called The Field of 68.
Coming up: The network will launch with a trio of national podcasts this week:
The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.
The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).
The state of play: We have now entered the Limited Fans Era, a transition that has gone somewhat unnoticed due to shifting attendance policies.
The NCAA is one step closer to allowing student athletes to earn compensation for their name, image and likeness, with a new proposal expected to be approved in January.
Details: Once approved, the bylaw would be implemented ahead of the 2021-22 school year.
In an attempt to provide as much flexibility as possible amid a time of great uncertainty, the NCAA has granted all D-I winter athletes an additional year of eligibility — something that was already granted to all fall and spring athletes.
What they're saying: Grace Calhoun, who chairs the NCAA's D-I council and is the athletic director at Penn, said the council didn't want athletes choosing to redshirt because of fears that their seasons might be cut short or negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The University of Alabama's football coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne said in statements Wednesday that they have tested positive for COVID-19.
The big picture: Both the 68-year-old Saban and 48-year-old Byrne said that they immediately left work to isolate at home after receiving their positive tests and that neither are experiencing symptoms.
Over 200 college sports programs have been cut since the pandemic began wreaking havoc on athletic budgets, altering the lives of thousands of student athletes and coaches.
The state of play: The cuts mostly comprise non-revenue sports like tennis, golf, cross country and swimming.
College football hasn't been the prettiest product thus far, with sloppy play and shocking upsets dominating the first month of the season.
The state of play: Safety guidelines impacted summer training, and even when teams were allowed to hold practice, they often lacked full participation with players out due to COVID-19, leading to myriad unsightly trends.
The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.