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Dec. 22, 2020 — COVID, the great isolator?

Yesterday started that two-week-long cavalcade of athletic excess called the college bowl season. But if you’ll notice, there’s something missing this year. Actually, a lot of somethings.

A number of prominent schools, such as Boston College, have opted out of selection to bowl games. Too, a lot of bowl games are not going to be contested.

One of them was a given: the Bahamas Bowl was only one involving foreign travel. There were a lot of bowls slated for cold climates in the northeast U.S. which were also cancelled. These were in New York, Boston, and Annapolis, Md.

But the lead of the 2020-21 bowl story had to have been the fact that there are going to be no bowl games in California. Even the self-titled “Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl, is being held outside of Pasadena for the first time since World War II, when Duke University volunteered to host the game to keep out of range of a feared Japanese air attack.

California leads the nation in Coronavirus cases, and many hospitals are already full to the gills with newly infected persons. Places like Santa Clara County have put the kibosh on professional sports, and there has been all number of changes to the California sports calendar because of it. Indeed, if the curve fails to flatten, the entire CIF fall season, already pushed back to late January, may be forfeit altogether.

The same can be said in Europe because of an outbreak of a deadlier COVID-19 strain in the United Kingdom. Travelers from the Host Nations are now being barred from travel to a number of countries. This situation is taking place right when the country is executing its “Brexit” from the European Union, and could have a lot of unfortunate implications down the road.

You see, the United Kingdom has not only been interconnected with the EU not only economically, but in terms of the sporting world. I think the popularity of competitions such as the UEFA Champions League in soccer and the Six Nations Tournament in rugby have been accentuated by the fact that travel was made relatively seamless.

Eight teams — seven from England and one from Scotland — are scheduled for knockout play starting next year in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. Under normal circumstances, travel from one place to another for these games is mere formality. But now, passports and visas are going to be required.

I, frankly, can’t wait until a lengthy delay at a border crossing has an effect on a UEFA game, especially if it is a smaller nation looking to make a political point at the expense of England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

It could happen.

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