The GIST: While some of us are using this self-isolation time to learn new skills, connect with old friends (virtually, of course) or binge-watch The Office again, sports leagues are using it to shake things up.
- The league is moving from a 12-team postseason to 14, which means one extra wild card team in each of the two conferences (the American Football Conference, AFC, and the National Football Conference, NFC). As a result, only the No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye instead of the top two seeds in each conference (fun fact: since 2012, no team has made it to the Super Bowl without a bye).
NBA: The NBA is making changes too, but these ones are all COVID-19-related. The league is currently looking at options to finish out the season (which was abruptly paused on March 11th) and one of the front-running options is to have all teams play just five to seven games to reach a total of 70 regular-season games (normally 82 games) in a neutral location (i.e., Las Vegas) without fans in attendance.
- Ideally, they would play a full 16-team playoff, but we could see a super-shortened best-of-three series in the postseason instead of the regular best-of-seven. All weird, but at this point, we’ll take anything.
NCAA: The NCAA had to make the tough decision this week to not make any changes. They won’t reschedule any sporting event that was set to take place during the coronavirus shutdown, including the famed March Madness basketball tournament, or give any competing winter athletes an extra chance to participate next year.
- Sadly, that means college basketball stars who were denied the chance to play for a national crown won’t get an extra year of eligibility, and we won’t get to see our faves, like the iconic Sabrina Ionescu, get a proper senior sendoff. The good news? Spring sport athletes will be getting another year of eligibility. So, that’s something.