SportsPulse: As Christine Brennan points out, the Ivy League’s decisions have often been a tell tale sign for all college sports and it’s time to prepare for a fall without college football.


There have been plenty of worrisome developments in the world of college sports since the coronavirus pandemic first struck in March.

Perhaps none in as many distinct areas, and in as rapid succession, as there were Wednesday.

In a span of less than 10 hours, Stanford announced that it is cutting 11 of its 36 varsity sports programs, including field hockey, wrestling and men’s volleyball. The Ivy League said its schools will not participate in any sporting events through the fall semester, while leaving open the possibility that fall sports (like football) could be pushed to the spring.

Then Ohio State announced it was pausing workouts in seven sports, including football, after receiving the results of its latest batch of COVID-19 tests. North Carolina made a similar move earlier Wednesday after learning of 37 positive tests.

It was a remarkable string of developments, providing reasons for pessimism about the trajectory of college sports at multiple levels.

The positive tests at Ohio State and UNC prompt questions about whether and how offseason workouts can safely continue across the country. The Ivy League’s decision could be the metaphorical canary in the coal mine for college football season. And Stanford’s cuts foreshadow the long-term budgetary challenges that may pop up at dozens of top-tier schools in the coming years.

“As you can imagine, this has been a heartbreaking day for all of us,” Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir said.

He was speaking specifically about the Cardinal, but the same could be said for the entire industry. It was a brutal day. And as COVID-19 continues to spread, with more than 130,000 Americans dead in its wake and 3 million recorded cases to date, there’s no telling what new challenges might still be on the horizon.


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Sports video of the day

Only twice on the men’s side has a World Cup final been decided by penalty kicks. One instance occurred on this day in 2006, when Italy defeated France 5-3 on PKs. It was arguably one of the craziest World Cup finals ever, or at least one of the most memorable. You might remember it as the “Zinedine Zidane headbutt game.”

What we’re reading

FOLLOW SUIT:Senator calls on major conference to follow Ivy League decision

PROTEST:Black Players for Change protests on field at MLS is Back match

NEXT IN LINE:10 NFL players set to land huge deals after Patrick Mahomes

BACK IN THE NBA:Jamal Crawford reportedly agrees with Nets for restart

NBA Q&A:Kenny Smith on virtual camps, season restart and Michael Jordan

OPTIMISM:Indiana governor still on board with plan for fans at Indy 500

BUBBLE DOUBTS:Joel Embiid doesn’t think NBA campus is “safe enough”

FIVE-STAR?As NBA teams arrive at Disney World, glitches are expected

Sports on TV

Soccer (live): English Premier League, Bournemouth vs. Tottenham, 12:55 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

Soccer (live): Serie A, SPAL vs. Udinese, 1:25 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Basketball (live): The Basketball Tournament, Round of 16, Herd That vs. TMT, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN 

Soccer (live): English Premier League, Aston Villa vs. Manchester United, 3:10 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

Basketball (live): The Basketball Tournament, Round of 16, Armored Athlete vs. Overseas Elite, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN 

Track & field (encore): Zurich Inspiration Games, 5:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

NASCAR (live): Xfinity Racing Series, Shady Rays 200, 8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1

Soccer (live): MLS, New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

Contact Tom Schad at or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.


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