There is a consistency with sports journalism that you don’t find in any other area of journalism.
Heading into the start of a season, you know exactly what you’re going to cover and when. There is a set schedule of games that provides guaranteed content for the next several months. You know you’ll at least have a preview and a recap of each game, with stories on players, coaches, trends and other news sure to follow.
It’s easy to plan a season’s worth of content, and that makes the job itself easy.
I’ve watched The Battalion’s other editors plan their budgets for each week, and each time, I am thankful that sports provides the stability it does. I don’t have to search far and wide for each of my stories. I have a set schedule I can refer to and plan around. I also don’t have to look very hard to find sources. Other than the occasional feature stories we do, weekly press conferences take care of that.
But what do you do when there are no sports?
Coronavirus has brought a lot of uncertainty on the world, and unfortunately, the sports world could not escape unscathed.
It all began crashing down last Wednesday.
On March 11, things were normal. That afternoon, the NCAA and the SEC announced their decisions to limit fan attendance at the men’s and women’s basketball tournament games to “only essential staff and limited family.”
Other than that, everything was fine. Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork released a statement announcing the softball game that night against Texas State would allow fans to attend.
So I covered that game, not knowing it would be the last game I (probably) would cover this season. I also had two other stories to write from press releases we had received earlier in the day: A&M volleyball’s Mallory Talbert had been named to the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team and would train with the U.S. National Team in the summer, and A&M track and field’s Tyra Gittens had been named SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Gittens was also in Albuquerque, New Mexico, preparing to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday, along with the rest of the qualifiers from A&M.
The morning of March 12, there was an uneasiness in the air, but for the most part, things were still normal.
That morning, I started editing two previews for weekend games. Only one got posted.
While I was doing that, news broke that the SEC had canceled the remainder of the 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Then, the SEC followed with an announcement that it was suspending all regular season games for all sports through March 30.
Just four hours later, the downfall of sports continued. The NCAA announced the cancellation of all remaining winter and spring championship games, eliminating March Madness and the College World Series in one fell swoop.
Twenty-four hours later, the SEC extended its suspension of sporting events to April 15 and included all “organized team activity” in the ban.
While we know this means in-season sports are on hold for the time being, we’re still waiting to hear what this means for spring football, Pro Day, the NFL Draft and the Summer Olympics.
Any plans I had regarding those events are potentially down the drain, and down with them went the stability that I’ve grown accustomed to.
Moving ahead, the sports desk will be focusing on student-athlete profiles, coaches and other people involved with A&M athletics, in addition to branching out to cover more A&M club sports. If you have any ideas for us to pursue, send them to email@example.com. Thanks, Gig ‘em and God bless.