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NCHC Commissioner: no final decision yet on winter sports

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KRDO) -- Josh Fenton, commissioner of The National Collegiate Hockey Conference, says the Colorado College Tigers are still set to open their season on October 9th versus Maine. But he acknowledges the situation is fluid.

"We've really been in this mode of determining what's going to come and not come in 2020-21," Fenton said on Thursday. "Here we sit in almost the first part of August and we still don't have a decision."

The NCAA board of governors will meet next week and it's expected they will make a decision on fall sports championships. That decision that could influence the Tigers and the NCHC's approach to the winter season.

Professional leagues are restarting. For now colleges around the country are planning to have a fall sports season. At the very least, Fenton and the NCHC can see how things play out before making a final call.

"Time is probably our only advantage at this point," Fenton said. "There's certainly things you can take away. Testing protocols, how competition is working, especially in a space like hockey. We can take some of that stuff away from the National Hockey League."

But pro and college sports are very different, and there are no guarantees. Major League Baseball is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, primarily from the Miami Marlins. The Philadelphia Phillies shut down their facilities after 2 members tested positive.

Colleges face their own challenges. There are more schools. Universities must take into account the student body's health and safety. Players have roommates, and may need to be moved into single-person housing to help with social distancing. That's before taking into account the challenges that come with trying to contain the virus, and keep it from disrupting the season.

"Obviously we're seeing asymptomatic risk with the virus," Fenton said. "With asymptomatic risk you don't know if you're carrying that virus or not, if you don't know that and you are carrying the virus, you could easily spread that. A lot of times we are seeing cost of tests being prohibitive, or even testing availability, or test turnaround times being challenges to a testing protocol that makes sense, knowing that we have asymptomatic spread out there."

Unfortunately, this is as much clarity as anyone can expect for now. If the virus has taught us anything, it's that it's unpredictable. The situation is fluid.

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Danny Mata

Danny Mata is a sports anchor/reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Danny here.

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